Full Name: Christian James (CJ) McCollum
Date/Place of Birth: 9/19/1991-Canton, OH
Height/Weight-6’ 3”, 197 lbs
Primary Position: PG/SG
Projected Role: Sixth Man or Starting SG
NBA Draft: Drafted with the 10th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by Portland
Honors: Two time Patriot League Player of the Year (2010 and 2012)
College Averages-21.3 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, 2.6 TOPG, 2 SPG. 12-13 College PER: 33.95
As Blazers fans learned with Lillard last year, just because you come from a small school doesn’t mean your game can’t be NBA ready. McCollum’s certainly is. CJ is an electric scoring guard with a quick first step, good range on his jumper and someone who excels in transition. He is a very good rebounder for a guard, important especially as the Blazers will likely be shooting a lot of long jumpers, leading to a lot of possible offensive rebounds for CJ. On defense, he has a great knack for getting his hand in and forcing steals, which he almost always converts to an easy transition score. He might not be Lillard-level good but he might be good enough to get the Blazers a second-straight rookie of the year, which is no easy feat.
First the obvious, McCollum missed most of his senior season when he broke his foot January 5. The good news is that he appears fully recovered from that. Besides that, whenever a player from a smaller school makes the jump to the NBA, one of the obvious questions is how they will do on defense. That is certainly a concern here , especially if CJ ends up matched up with bigger shooting guards. He lacks elite athleticism and could stand to add a bit of strength if he wants to play successful defense at this level. Additionally, there are concerns that he is a bit of a “tweener”, not a natural PG but not quite big enough to be a SG. Still, he has a great work ethic and there is reason to believe he will overcome these shortcomings and prove the Blazers were right in selecting him.
Lillard openly advocated for McCollum, although the two have never met in person, first connecting over social media.
Did You Know?:
CJ McCollum is the second player to ever be drafted from the Patriot League, the first was Adonal Foyle (Colgate) drafted 8th overall in 1997. Mike Muscala of Bucknell became the third Patriot League player drafted later in the 2013 draft when he was picked 44th overall by Dallas.
McCollum is only the third senior since 2007 to be drafted in the top ten, one of the other two is, of course, Lillard.
McCollum majored in journalism in college and says that when his NBA career is finished he wants to be a “Sports Analyst and Broadcaster.”