« DI Men’s Basketball 2012-13

C.J.  McCollum



McCollum has impressed on the court, but also in the classroom as a Journalism major. Last spring - the semester he led Lehigh to its second Patriot League Championship (and NCAA Tournament appearance) - McCollum posted a stellar 3.60 GPA and was named to the Dean’s List and the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll. In total, his major GPA is approximately a 3.0 while he’s also garnered the Faculty Athletics Council Award. McCollum currently interns in the Lehigh Sports Media Relations department, receiving real-life writing (and video) experience for his future career goals in Journalism. McCollum is also heavily involved with the Brown & White student newspaper, serving as assistant Sports editor while also writing stories. After deciding to withdraw from the 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, McCollum has helped lead the Mountain Hawks to new heights - winning the Patriot League twice in the last three seasons while earning a historic win over Duke in last season’s NCAA Tournament. McCollum is a participant of Lehigh’s PRIDE and LEGACY programs while serving as executive member of SAC (Student Athletic Committee). Within these programs, he’s learned basic leadership and self-assessment skills. In Leadership Legacies, McCollum participates in biweekly workshops to become a more effective team leader. Through the program, he studies conflict resolution, communication and group dynamics to help develop leadership qualities. 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. Meanwhile, through SAC, McCollum’s coordinated and led the subcommittees, 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.  “Reading Rocks” is run through the C.O.A.C.H. program (Community Outreach by Athletes who Care about Helping). Lehigh student-athletes go to nearby Donegan Elementary School to read, play games and forge friendships. The program also helps middle and high school student-athletes and their peers make informed choices regarding their education, drug and alcohol issues, and other factors that may affect reaching their full potential. Lehigh student-athletes act as “coaches” for local school students by making presentations to students and student-athletes and offering educational-themed sports clinics, group outings to Lehigh athletic events and facilities and other special projects. McCollum and his Mountain Hawk teammates also make numerous school visits as a team, normally each October and January as he’s helped make a difference in the local community. McCollum has worked at numerous summer basketball camps, mentoring youngsters to help them build team and leadership skills.


McCollum’s on-court accolades are truly endless. He’s already been named a preseason First Team All-American by Sporting news, joining an elite group of Cody Zeller (Indiana), Doug McDermott (Creighton), James Michael McAdoo (North Carolina) and Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State) as First Team honorees. McCollum owns 2,074 career points after only three seasons, standing second in Lehigh and Patriot League history. He needs only 151 points to break the league mark of 2,224 held by Holy Cross’ Rob Feaster, while he’s 630 from breaking the school record of 2,703 currently held by Daren Queenan. McCollum has been a consistent scorer from day one, averaging 19.1 points per game as a freshman, 21.8 as a sophomore and 21.9 a season ago. Among his many highlights, 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 a season ago, 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. McCollum eclipsed 20 points on 20 occasions last season and surpassed 30 points five times. His game-winning three-pointer at Bucknell on Feb. 16 was featured as a SportsCenter top play, setting the stage for one month later when he and his Mountain Hawk teammates captured the nation’s attention in a Mar. 16 win over Duke. Last season, McCollum was named Patriot League Player of the Week six times, upping his already career record of 12. He improved his all-around game a season ago, averaging 21.9 points per game (on an efficient 44.3 percent shooting), 6.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. His 124 assists last season were tied for ninth in school history. McCollum has played in all 99 games in his career, starting 97. After coming off the bench in his first two games as a freshman, he’s started 97 straight times. He was the nation’s leading freshman scorer in 2010-11 before being that top sophomore scorer and finishing third among juniors a season ago.