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Weber State basketball 2014: Former star Damian Lillard on outs with Team USA?

Team USA hopeful, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.
Team USA hopeful, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Former Weber State men's basketball star Damian Lillard appeared to have a spot with Team USA sewn up after a strong performance in Las Vegas.

But, after the Portland Trail Blazers All-Star guard with his own Adidas commercial empire played just a handful of minutes Sat. Aug. 16 in Team USA's win over Brazil, you wonder if his time with the Americans is up.

This much is true: there is an absolute embarrassment of great point guards on this roster. It's not like the situations at the center and power forward positions, where the departures of the two Kevins (Love and Durant) along with Paul George's freaky broken leg in Vegas have sent USA Basketball scrambling to find replacements, and essentially create a new style of play.

Several reports have USA Basketball seeking a capable sixth man like Lillard, someone who can defend well and still create his own shot, giving the Americans a spark when they need one, off the bench.

Lillard has his work cut for him though. Point guards currently competing with Lillard for playing time on the red, white, and blue include Cleveland Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving, Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose and Golden State star Stephen Curry.

If you're counting at home, and you are if you live anywhere near the three O's (that's Ogden, Oakland, and Oregon), that's a lot of competition for Number Zero. D-Rose and Curry are expected to start for Team USA in Spain--barring an injury, of course. But, Lillard could slide into a sixth man role--if only he can get more playing time going forward.

The good news for Lillard is that the game Saturday against Brazil--in which he scored no points in just two minutes of action--is just one of several on the schedule this month before USA Basketball selects its 12-man roster.

Lillard should have other opportunities to impress Coach K and his staff as Team USA's training camp continues this week in New York, in advance of games it has scheduled in Madison Square Garden against the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Lillard is not the only product from the state of Utah who might be in jeopardy of not making the team. Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward didn't even play Saturday against Brazil--so obviously he's hoping he'll see the floor in New York later this week.

As for Lillard, the Weber State product has already had a storybook start to his pro career. Making Team USA, and representing the red, white and blue at the upcoming FIBA World Cup basketball tournament in Spain would cement his star status.

It's just that sheer luck, and the bounce of the ball itself, may prevent Lillard from showing off his abundant talent. With the way his career is going and has already gone, this experience playing for Team USA may not be his last though.

As a fan of the player and person that Lillard is on and off the basketball court, you certainly hope Coach K will take Lillard's many talents into account. But, with a roster like this, particularly at the point guard spot, you know Coach K's job will not be easy.

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