BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh rising senior C.J. McCollum has enjoyed a busy summer fine-tuning his game at various skills academies hosted by NBA stars. The two-time Patriot League Player of the Year was a standout at the Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and LeBron James Skills Academies, learning from the best of the best as he prepares for a much-anticipated senior season.
Ever since McCollum scored 30 points to lead Lehigh over Duke in the NCAA Tournament, his stock has continued to skyrocket. The Canton, Ohio native attended Chris Paul’s Elite Point Guard Camp in Winston-Salem, N.C. from June 8-11 and Kevin Durant’s Skills Academy in Chicago from June 25-29. He was also invited to Las Vegas for the prestigious LeBron James Skills Academy from July 6-9, showcasing his talent in front of numerous media and NBA scouts while continuing to learn from basketball’s elite.
“I’ve tried to take advice and take coaching from some of the highest minds of the game while also giving and receiving feedback,” said McCollum. “I bounced some questions off those guys. I built a good relationship with Chris Paul.”
McCollum along with four Lehigh teammates (Gabe Knutson, Mackey McKnight, John Adams and Jordan Hamilton) and head coach Brett Reed also attended the ESPY Awards last Wednesday in Los Angeles. It’s been a whirlwind summer for McCollum, but one he’s greatly enjoyed.
“It’s different when you’re in the spotlight with recognition and people know who you,” he said. “It’s definitely been a great experience; I’m just trying to take it all in. I don’t know if I have time to catch my breath and take a break. I’m always trying to get better and continue taking advantage of free time. As a senior now, I feel an extra sense of urgency.”
A big thing McCollum took from Chris Paul was the concept of being a fan. For players who have NBA aspirations like McCollum, Paul said: “You can’t be a fan if you want to be competitive and play in our league.”
“After my sophomore and junior years, I was a fan,” said McCollum. “But now after the season ended, I’ve matured. I still looked up to those players, but now I know I can compete with them.”
McCollum has been called the “hands down MVP of the Chris Paul camp” by SLAM Magazine. Here’s a snippet of what the article had to say: “Now readily approaching 200 pounds, the Canton, Ohio native showed off his new found strength and surprising athleticism (he barely missed a between the legs dunk) to dominate the camp. His shot fake, step-back, and NBA range made him a nightmare to guard throughout the camp. He even got his with CP3 guarding him, leaving the All-NBA defender shaking his head in astonishment.” To read the complete piece, please click here.
The Morning Call, Express-Times and WFMZ TV also have coverage of McCollum’s summer. To check out those stories, please click on the above links.
McCollum enters his senior season with 2,074 career points, just 629 away from the Lehigh career record held by Daren Queenan. He’s also only 150 points from the Patriot League mark. With a strong senior season, he could also move into the top 20 (or higher) in NCAA history for career points.