C.J. McCollum ready for NBA draft spotlight
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
C.J. McCollum is serious about his college degree — the one he went back to Lehigh to get, the reason he passed up the potential for millions of dollars last summer.
So unlike many of his underclassman peers expected to be lottery picks in Thursday’s NBA draft, McCollum is already working on his second career: journalism.
So far, McCollum has written a column for Sports Illustrated and draft diaries for NBA.com and has plans to interview Adam Silver, the NBA’s deputy commissioner, on Thursday. This comes after months spent working in Lehigh’s sports information department and a year after he announced his return to college in a first-person story for Sporting News.
“I wanted to make sure I keep my degree alive and that I’m staying sharp with my writing skills and interview skills and on-camera stuff,” McCollum said.
McCollum’s agent helped find those opportunities, and, just like that, McCollum’s résumé grew rather impressively the last two months.
“Think about a journalism major with those major publications already in his portfolio,” Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. “It’s such a wonderful head start for him. That’s an indicator of the way he thinks big picture. Even during the midst of all the busyness he’s experiencing, he wants to engage and grow in that particular area. He’s intelligent enough to be able to do both.”
Small school, big talent
Ah, yes, basketball is the other part of this, and he has done that very well. The Patriot League’s all-time leading scorer averaged 23.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists a game as a senior in a season cut short by a broken foot in January. Now, fully healed, the 6-3 guard is projected as a top-10 draft pick, and he has drawn comparisons to Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, the NBA’s rookie of the year out of Weber State.
Like Lillard, McCollum is a small-school guy who has proved he can handle elite competition — and thrive against it.
McCollum was a star in the Patriot League long before he became a household name by scoring 30 points to lead No. 15 seed Lehigh to an upset of No. … [For more on Lehigh's C.J. McCollum ready for NBA draft spotlight, click here.]