C.J. McCollum - Mid-major elite?
Coming out of high school, C.J. McCollum, the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Ohio, really only had two serious Division I offers- in-state school Bowling Green, and another from Lehigh University of the Patriot League and ever-since, he's making coaches pay for passing up on him. No one was knocking down his door to recruit him. He isn't 6'5 or even 6'4" and he certainly wasn't close to 200 pounds at the time. But he was an effective scorer at 6'2" with decent ball-handling skills and the length and competitiveness to make him a strong rebounder. Not many could have predicted McCollum's immediate impact for the Mountain Hawks- putting up 19.1 points, including a stellar 42.1 percent mark from 3-point range, 5 rebounds per game and 2.4 assists. He helped bring Lehigh to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004, staying competitive with Kansas in the first-round behind McCollum's 26 points and 7 rebounds.
In his sophomore season, McCollum elevated his game even further, but the Mountain Hawks disappointed; his 21.8 points and 2.5 steals per gamepaced the Patriot League and his 7.8 rebounds were third in the conference. However, Lehigh finished 16-15 overall and 6-8 in league play, good for fourth overall.
His junior year, McCollum and his Lehigh team will once again be challenged by a Mike Muscala-led Bucknell squad. McCollum will get a chance to showcase some of his skills as Lehigh takes on St. John's, Iowa State and Michigan State all on the road before conference play and prove that he is one of the top mid-major players across the country.
By President Corey Ruff - 10 - 26 - 11