|C.J. McCollum missed all but 12 games of his senior year at Lehigh but is healthy and ready for the NBA. (sbnation.com)|
Position: Point guard/shooting guard
DraftExpress projection: No. 8, No. 8 to the Detroit Pistons
Synopsis: It's a good sign of a talent when a player is from a mid-major program and only plays in 12 games of his senior season, yet is still a projected top-10 pick. C.J. McCollum became a household name when his Lehigh team defeated Duke in the first round of the 2011-12 NCAA Tournament, in a season in which he averaged 21.9 points per game. Analysts and fans around the country were excited to see if McCollum could continue his excellence through his senior campaign, until a foot injury knocked him out for the season after 12 games. McCollum made the most of those 12 games, averaging a career best 23.9 ppg.
If there were still questions about his foot, the 6'3" McCollum answered those questions by recording a 38.5" max vertical jump at the NBA combine. And while McCollum can jump and attack the rim, he is at his best as a shooter. The 2012-13 season stats are a little misleading (49.5 percent from the field and 51.6 from 3-point range) since it was only 12 games, but even in his last full season McCollum shot 44.3 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from behind the arch. McCollum's passing stats are not great, only averaging 2.9 assists last year and 3.5 the year before, but he is an excellent rebounding guard for his height with 6.5 and five rebounds per game the past two seasons. The Lehigh star is a scoring guard, and more importantly an efficient scoring guard. McCollum was first in the country last season in scoring efficiency at 1.104 points per possession. The amount of games he's played against steep competition is a possible concern (although he scored 30 points in the upset of Duke and 36 in the first game of last season against Baylor), but an NBA team is going to get a player that knows how to score and won't make it at the expense of the team.
Quote to Note: “I would say there are a lot of advantages. I stayed there, I committed myself. Just my character. Just how smart I am. I know my game … I won’t make mistakes off the court. You were a student first, athlete second. That’s how I kind of approach this game, approach life.” - McCollum on staying in college for four years via Valley of the Suns.