Courtesy of Lehigh Athletics
Courtesy of LehighSports.com
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Lehigh men’s basketball’s C.J. McCollum has been named a Senior CLASS First Team All-American, as announced on Thursday. A Senior CLASS Award Finalist, McCollum is joined on the first team by winner Jordan Hulls (Indiana) along with Mike Groselle (The Citadel), Mike Muscala (Bucknell) and Mason Plumlee (Duke). An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.
McCollum is Lehigh’s second finalist in the last four seasons, along with Marquis Hall in 2009-10. Fellow senior Gabe Knutson was also named one of the initial 30 candidates as Lehigh stood as the only school with multiple candidates.
McCollum has excelled in all areas ever since arriving on campus. This past fall, McCollum posted a stellar 3.69 GPA, this after garnering a 3.60 last spring to earn a spot on the Dean’s List and Patriot League Academic Honor Roll. A Journalism major, McCollum has extensive experience in the field. He interned in the Lehigh Sports Media Relations department last semester, receiving real-life writing (and video) experience for his future career goals. McCollum is also heavily involved with the Brown & White student newspaper, serving as assistant Sports editor and writing stories. After deciding to withdraw from last year’s NBA Draft, McCollum wrote an extensive piece featured on Sporting News’website titled: “Why I’m returning to Lehigh for my senior year.” McCollum had an opportunity to be selected in the 2012 NBA Draft, but he values his education and decided to return to earn his degree.
McCollum has extensive leadership experience as a three-time team captain. Captain since his sophomore year, he’s helped lead the Mountain Hawks to new heights – winning the Patriot League twice in his tenure while earning a historic win over Duke in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
McCollum is a participant of Lehigh’s Pride and Legacy programs while serving as executive member of SAC (Student Athletic Committee). It’s a select program as McCollum was chosen by coaches (as both a junior and senior). This came after he took part in “Emerging Leaders” as a sophomore, a voluntary program and prerequisite for selection to Leadership Legacies. Through SAC, McCollum has coordinated and led the sub-committees, representing their student-athlete peers at student senate meetings and Patriot League SAC Meetings. McCollum received the Class of 1904 Award in 2012, a University Leadership Award.
McCollum has become a role model not only at Lehigh, but also within the Bethlehem community. He makes numerous school visits, oftentimes speaking to the youngsters. McCollum has taken part in “Reading Rocks,” serving as a speaker at this year’s kickoff event. The Canton, Ohio native has worked at numerous summer basketball camps, mentoring youngsters to help them build team and leadership skills.
A preseason First Team All-American by the Associated Press and Sporting News, McCollum is the Patriot League’s all-time leading scorer with 2,361 career points. Heading into the VCU game on Jan. 5, McCollum was leading the nation in scoring. In 12 games, he averaged 23.9 points and 5.0 rebounds before his season was cut short due to injury. Despite that, McCollum eclipsed 30 points on four occasions: 36 at Baylor, 35 vs. Fairfield, 30 at Quinnipiac and 34 against Bryant. His highlight reel dunk against Fairfield was also included among SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays.
As a junior, the Canton, Ohio native posted 30 points, six rebounds and six assists in Lehigh’s historic 75-70 NCAA Tournament win over Duke. He finished the season with 124 assists (tied for ninth in school history), almost 50 more than his previous career high. McCollum is a two-time Patriot League Player of the Year and AP Honorable Mention All-American. He was named ECAC Player of the Year, winning the honor over players from the ACC, Big East and Atlantic 10. McCollum garnered NABC First Team All-District laurels for a third straight season and was one of only 25 players nationally named a Lute Olson All-American.
Lehigh wrapped up its season with a 21-10 record while advancing to the College Basketball Invitational, the third time in the last four years the Mountain Hawks have eclipsed 20 wins and made a national postseason tournament.
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Story by Taylor Boyd ‘13