Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune has a longer profile of Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard CJ McCollum, who has turned up his scoring over the last week or so. Eggers checks in with some folks at Lehigh University to provide some nice background.
"CJ fully embraced the college experience," says Rich Haas, director of sales and marketing at Lehigh. "He was an incredible student-athlete who represents what a Lehigh student is about. We were lucky to have him. He excelled in every aspect of his Lehigh experience. He was built into the fabric of the school."
Lehigh coach Brett Reed seconds Haas' view on the young man who became the first Mountain Hawk to be taken in the NBA draft.
"C.J. helped cement the culture for our program," says Reed, now in his seventh season at the Lehigh helm. "It was so important to have an excellent player who was also a team-first kind of guy.
"His freshman year, we had a senior guard (Marquis Hall from Jefferson High) who had been named (Patriot League) preseason player of the year, and another who was a 1,000-point scorer. CJ had a great season, and it would have been easy for him to get a swollen head. But he would always defer praise and credit. Had he not taken the right approach, there could have been alienation. It created good team chemistry early on."
The full piece is right here.
McCollum, 22, is averaging 6.9 points and 1.4 rebounds in 17 games this season after missing time with a foot injury. He's topped double digits in each of Portland's last three games.
McCollum discussed his recent success earlier this week.
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter