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Christian James "C. J." McCollum (born September 19, 1991) is an American professional basketball player for the Portland Trail Blazers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). During his third year in the league in 2015–16, he was named the NBA Most Improved Player.
McCollum played college basketball for the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, and was the Patriot League Men's Basketball Player of the Year in both 2010 and 2012. He was selected by Portland with the 10th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. After two seasons as a reserve, he became a full-time starter for the Trail Blazers.Contents
McCollum was greatly undersized as a freshman at GlenOak High School in Canton, Ohio in 2005, standing just 5'2" tall. He was the beneficiary of a late growth spurt, however, gaining 5 inches in height by the beginning of his second season and another 4 inches by the start of his junior year — enough size to put him on the radar for college recruitment. In the first game of his junior year, McCollum scored 54 points to establish a new school record for single game scoring proficiency.
Throughout his high school years McCollum continued to work on his shooting stroke, a successful effort reflected by his 29.3 points per game average during his senior year. McCollum graduated as the leading scorer in Golden Eagles history with 1405 career points and was named as the Gatorade Ohio Boys Basketball Player of the Year for the 2008–09 season.College career
McCollum, listed at 6'3" and just 165 pounds, came to Lehigh in 2009 and made an instant impact. In his freshman year, McCollum averaged 19.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He made Patriot League history as he was the first freshman to be named conference player of the year. In addition, he was named an AP honorable mention All-American. He led the Mountain Hawks to the 2010 NCAA Tournament, where he scored 26 points in a first-round loss to top seed Kansas.
As a sophomore, McCollum increased his averages to 21.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. However, his shooting percentages and Lehigh's record slipped and McCollum was beaten out for conference player of the year honors by Bucknell's Mike Muscala. He was named first team All-Conference.
As a junior, McCollum was again named Patriot League player of the year and earned his third straight first team all-conference designation.
In the 2012 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, he scored 30 points as Lehigh won its first game against the Duke Blue Devils by 75–70, only the sixth time that a 15th seed had defeated a 2nd seed and the second of the night.
McCollum's body continued to mature during his college years and he added 30 pounds of muscle during the interval. Although he was already considered a top NBA draft prospect during his junior year, he explained his reasons for continuing his education at Lehigh in an article that he wrote for Sporting News.
On November 25, 2012, McCollum scored 26 points in a 91–77 win over Sacred Heart, surpassing Rob Feaster as the Patriot League's all-time leading scorer. On January 5, 2013, McCollum broke his left foot in a game versus Virginia Commonwealth University, ending his season. He was a 2012–13 Senior CLASS Award finalist. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Lehigh on May 20, 2013.College awards and honors
Despite his injury ending his career with Lehigh, McCollum became the first Lehigh player ever drafted when he was taken 10th overall in the 2013 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. On July 11, 2013, he signed his rookie scale contract with the Trail Blazers and went on to play for the team in the 2013 NBA Summer League where he averaged 21 points and four rebounds per game.
When the 2013 rookie class convened for its annual photo shoot and filled out its NBA.com Rookie Survey, the class voted McCollum as the co-favorite 2013–14 Rookie of the Year (with Victor Oladipo). McCollum sat out the first six weeks of the season with a foot injury. On January 1, 2014, he was assigned to the Idaho Stampede. After being recalled by the Trail Blazers on January 5, he made his NBA debut three days later, scoring four points in a 110–94 win over the Orlando Magic. On February 8, he scored a season-high 19 points in a 117–110 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.2014–15 season
On October 27, 2014, the Trail Blazers exercised their third-year team option on McCollum's rookie scale contract, extending the contract through the 2015–16 season. On April 29, 2015, McCollum scored a then career-high 33 points in Portland's Game 5, first-round playoff loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.2015–16 season
On September 30, 2015, the Trail Blazers exercised their fourth-year team option on McCollum's rookie scale contract, extending the contract through the 2016–17 season. With the departures of Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Robin Lopez, McCollum was elevated to the starting shooting guard spot for the 2015–16 season, teaming up with point guard Damian Lillard. On October 28, 2015, McCollum scored a career-high 37 points (including 22 points in the first quarter) in the Trail Blazers' 112–94 season opening win over the New Orleans Pelicans. With an injury to Lillard in late December, McCollum moved over to the point. On December 27, he recorded 35 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in a 98–94 win over the Sacramento Kings. No Blazers player in the previous 29 years had put up numbers similar to McCollum's near triple-double. Clyde Drexler had at least 34 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists on five occasions. McCollum returned to the starting shooting guard on January 4 following the return of Lillard from injury. On February 12, he was named as a participant in the 2016 Three-Point Contest. On April 5, he recorded his eighth 30-point game of the season in a 115–107 win over the Sacramento Kings. McCollum finished the regular season with an average of 20.8 points per game, while Damian Lillard averaged 25.1 – making them the first backcourt in Blazers' history to average 20 or more points apiece. McCollum subsequently earned NBA Most Improved Player honors for the 2015–16 season.
McCollum helped the Trail Blazers defeat the Los Angeles Clippers 4–2 in the first round of the playoffs, but in their second round match-up with the Golden State Warriors, the Trail Blazers were outclassed, going down 4–1. In Game 5 of their series with the Warriors, McCollum had his third 27-point game of the playoffs in a 125–121 loss that ended their postseason run.2016–17 season
On July 27, 2016, McCollum signed a four-year contract extension with the Trail Blazers. In the Trail Blazers' season opener on October 25, McCollum scored 25 points in a 113–104 win over the Utah Jazz. Four days later, he recorded 23 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, three steals and a career-high three blocks in a 115–113 overtime win over the Denver Nuggets. On November 6, he tied his career high with 37 points in a 100–94 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. On November 20, he scored 33 points and hit a career-high tying six three-pointers in a 129–109 win over the Brooklyn Nets. On December 10, he made a career-high seven three-pointers and had 34 points in a 118–111 loss to the Indiana Pacers.NBA career statistics Legend GP Games played GS Games started MPG Minutes per game FG% Field goal percentage 3P% 3-point field goal percentage FT% Free throw percentage RPG Rebounds per game APG Assists per game SPG Steals per game BPG Blocks per game PPG Points per game Bold Career high Regular season Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG 2013–14 Portland 38 0 12.5 .416 .375 .676 1.3 .7 .4 .1 5.3 2014–15 Portland 62 3 15.7 .436 .396 .699 1.5 1.0 .7 .1 6.8 2015–16 Portland 80 80 34.8 .448 .417 .827 3.2 4.3 1.2 .3 20.8 Career 180 83 23.5 .443 .408 .784 2.2 2.4 .9 .2 12.7 Playoffs Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG 2014 Portland 6 0 4.0 .091 .000 1.000 .2 .0 .0 .0 .7 2015 Portland 5 1 33.2 .478 .478 .769 4.0 .4 1.2 .2 17.0 2016 Portland 11 11 40.2 .426 .345 .804 3.6 3.3 .9 .5 20.5 Career 22 12 28.7 .425 .360 .803 2.8 1.7 .7 .3 14.3 Personal life
McCollum's older brother, Errick, is also a professional basketball player. McCollum is interested in journalism, and has written material for various websites regarding the NBA. He has also interviewed NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.See also