Lehigh's C.J. McCollum
March 1, 2010
Center Valley, Pa. - Lehigh's CJ McCollum had an outstanding season from start to finish, and Patriot League coaches recognized him with an achievement that no other freshman had ever received as McCollum became the first student-athlete in League history to be named both the Patriot League Player and Rookie of the Year on Monday, it was announced during the Men's Basketball Tournament media teleconference.
McCollum led all players with 23.5 points per game in League action, and has a chance to tie for the Patriot League record with a ninth Rookie of the Week award later Monday. In addition to being the first freshman ever named Patriot League Player of the Year, McCollum becomes just the sixth student-athlete to receive both Player and Rookie of the Year honors in the course of his career. He won both awards unanimously.
Lehigh is the top seed in the 2010 Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament, with Bucknell at No. 2 and Lafayette at No. 3. The Bison and Leopards each earned some hardware as well, with Bucknell sophomore guard Bryan Cohen winning the Patriot Defensive Player of the Year honor and Lafayette Head Coach Fran O'Hanlon claiming his third Patriot League Coach of the Year award, and first since 1999.
McCollum also entered select company with his spot as a First-Team All-Patriot League player, joining Colgate's Adonal Foyle (1994-95) as the only two players to receive that honor in their freshman season. McCollum was joined on the First Team by a pair of senior guards (Navy's Chris Harris and Colgate's Kyle Roemer) and two junior forwards (Lafayette's Jared Mintz and American's Vlad Moldoveanu).
Another freshman made history as a Second-Team All-Patriot League pick, as Bucknell's Mike Muscala became just the fourth freshman to earn an All-Patriot League honor. He joins McCollum, Foyle and Second-Team pick Pat Campolieta of Colgate (1998-99) as the only All-League freshmen. Lehigh seniors Marquis Hall and Zahir Carrington also earned spots on the Second Team, while Holy Cross junior Andrew Keister and Lafayette sophomore Ryan Willen filled out the squad.
Harris and Hall each earned All-Patriot League honors for the third straight season, becoming just the 13th and 14th Patriot Leaguers to record that feat. Keister, Carrington and Roemer each earned a second All-Patriot League selection, while the other five players were named for the first time.
McCollum and Muscala also headline the All-Patriot League Rookie Team. They are each joined by teammates, Lehigh's Gabe Knutson and Bucknell's Bryson Johnson and Joe Willman, along with Colgate's Mitch Rolls. There are six players due to a tie in the voting, and Bucknell is the first school to ever place three players on the All-Rookie team.
McCollum showed early on that he had the potential for a big freshman season, and picked up his play even more in Patriot League action. He places third in the League in overall scoring at 18.8 points per game, and his 544 points shattered the previous Patriot League freshman scoring record of 509 set by Foyle in the 1994-95 campaign. McCollum led all players by averaging 23.5 points per game in Patriot League action. He scored 20 points or more in 10 of 14 League games, including the past six games where he averaged 27.8 points per contest. McCollum also finished sixth in rebounding and seventh in assists during Patriot League play. He helped the Mountain Hawks to their first-ever outright Patriot League regular-season title, and their first No. 1 seed in the League Tournament since claiming the title in 2004.
McCollum is Lehigh's second Patriot League Player of the Year winner, joining Austen Rowland who claimed the honor in the 2003-04 season. McCollum also continues a strong tradition of freshman success for the Mountain Hawks, as he is the school's third Rookie of the Year recipient in the past four seasons and joins Hall and junior teammate Rob Keefer as a winner of the award.
Bucknell has relied on Cohen to guard the opposition's top scorers during his two seasons in Lewisburg, and he has excelled in the role of shut-down defender. He helped limit Moldoveanu to two points in Bucknell's win over American on Feb. 11, and played a role in keeping Roemer to five points in a Bucknell victory over Colgate on Feb. 21. Cohen started 27 of Bucknell's 30 games, and placed in the top 30 in the Patriot League in scoring (8.8) and top 10 in assists (2.8). An All-Rookie selection last season, Cohen is Bucknell's third recipient in six seasons of the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year award. He joins teammate Stephen Tyree (2007-08) and Abe Badmus (2004-05), who won the inaugural honor, as winners from Bucknell.
O'Hanlon receives his third Patriot League Coach of the Year award, and first since claiming back-to-back honors in 1997-98 and 1998-99. The Leopards were unanimously picked to finish in last place in the Patriot League preseason poll, but were within a game of first place all season until falling to third on Saturday. Lafayette heads into the Patriot League Tournament with a record of 17-12 overall and 8-6 in the Patriot League, with each record marking the best season in Easton since 2004. The Leopards recorded an 11-3 mark at the Kirby Sports Center and led the Patriot League in field goal and free throw percentage while placing second in scoring offense.
Each of the First-Team All-Patriot League selections is receiving the honor for the first time, as Harris earned Second-Team All-League recognition in 2007-08 and 2008-09 and Roemer was also a Second-Team choice in 2007-08 after receiving All-Rookie status in 2004-05. Mintz, McCollum and Moldoveanu are all receiving Patriot League recognition for the first time.
Harris and Roemer finished as the top two overall scorers in the Patriot League, and were among the national leaders throughout the season. Each player is over 1,600 points in their career, becoming just the 12th and 13th Patriot Leaguers to hit that lofty total. Harris averaged 21.1 points per game to lead the League, and posted five 30-point efforts. He also leads the League with 84 three-pointers and 2.0 steals per game, and is second with an 87.1 free-throw percentage. Harris is the second player in League history in the career record book in points, three-pointers, steals and free-throw percentage. Roemer was second in the League with 18.9 points per game for the season, and placed seventh with 5.7 rebounds.
Mintz leads the Patriot League in both field-goal percentage (55.6) and free-throw percentage (87.5), and is on track to become the first player to lead the League in both categories in the same season. He is fifth overall with 14.6 points per game, and sixth with 5.7 rebounds. Moldoveanu made a major impact in his first season with the Eagles. A transfer from George Mason, he averaged 19.5 points and 6.5 rebounds after becoming eligible in American's 10th game. He increased those marks to 20.4 points and 7.5 rebounds per game in League action to lead the Eagles to the 7-7 mark.
With their selections to the second team, Hall and Carrington close out their decorated careers at Lehigh with another honor. Hall received League recognition in each of his seasons, taking home the Rookie of the Year trophy in 2006-07 before receiving Second-Team All-League honors in 2007-08 and First-Team plaudits last year. He went out with a strong senior season, averaging 11.3 points per game and leading the League with 5.7 assists per contest and a 2.6 assist/turnover ratio. He places second in Patriot League annals with 544 assists. Carrington receives a Second-Team selection for the second year in a row after managing 10.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game for the first-place Mountain Hawks. Carrington had also joined Hall on the 2006-07 All-Rookie team.
Keister and Willen also added to their collection of Patriot League laurels. The Holy Cross junior forward was a First-Team pick last year and made the Second Team this season for leading the Patriot League with 9.4 rebounds per game and scoring 10.4 points per contest. Those numbers went up to 11.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per game in League action. Keister leads the Patriot League with 12 double-doubles. Willen was an All-Rookie pick a year ago before taking the Second-Team honor on Monday. He averages 12.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game for the Leopards.
Muscala was a major factor in Bucknell's surge up the Patriot League standings after a 1-3 League start. In League action he is 12th with 13.1 points per game and fifth with 6.5 rebounds per contest. He has led the League in blocked shots throughout the season, and averages 2.1 blocks per game for the year.
Johnson, Knutson, Rolls and Willman posted strong freshmen seasons to join McCollum and Muscala on the All-Patriot League Rookie Team. Johnson is second on the team with 9.4 points per game in League action, where he connected on a team-high 26 three-pointers. Knutson joined his All-League teammates by averaging in double figures throughout the season, and scored 11.3 points per game while pulling down more than five rebounds per contest in League play. Rolls was at his best in Patriot League games, averaging 9.1 points and nearly four assists per game for the Raiders. Willman averaged 7.4 points and 3.5 rebounds in Patriot League action.
The All-Patriot League Team and major awards are voted on by the League's eight head coaches, who are not eligible to vote for their own student-athletes or themselves.
The postseason begins with the quarterfinal round of the 2010 Patriot League Men's Basketball Tournament on Wednesday. The four games on tap are No. 8 Army at No. 1 Lehigh, No. 5 Navy at No. 4 American, No. 7 Holy Cross at No. 2 Bucknell and No. 6 Colgate at No. 3 Lafayette. The Army/Lehigh, Holy Cross/Bucknell and Colgate/Lafayette contests will tip off at 7 p.m. with the Holy Cross/Bucknell contest on the CBS College Sports Network. The Navy/American game will start at 7:30 p.m. All Tournament games are played at the site of the higher seed, with the semifinals on Sunday and the League Championship on March 12 at 4:45 p.m. on ESPN2.
2009-10 Men's Basketball All-Patriot League and Major Awards
Player of the Year: CJ McCollum, Lehigh (Fr., G, 6'3, 165, Canton, Ohio/Glen Oak)
Rookie of the Year: CJ McCollum, Lehigh (Fr., G, 6'3, 165, Canton, Ohio/Glen Oak)
Defensive Player of the Year: Bryan Cohen, Bucknell (So., G, 6'5, 198, Huntingdon Valley, Pa./Abington Friends)
Coach of the Year: Fran O'Hanlon, Lafayette
Chris Harris, Navy, G, Sr.
CJ McCollum, Lehigh, G, Fr.
Jared Mintz, Lafayette, F, Jr.
Vlad Moldoveanu, American, F, Jr.
Kyle Roemer, Colgate, G/F, Sr.
Zahir Carrington, Lehigh, F, Sr.
Marquis Hall, Lehigh, G, Sr.
Mike Muscala, Bucknell, F/C, Fr.
Andrew Keister, Holy Cross, F, Jr.
Ryan Willen, Lafayette, F, So.
Bryson Johnson, Bucknell, G., Fr.
Gabe Knutson, Lehigh, F, Fr.
CJ McCollum, Lehigh, G, Fr.
Mike Muscala, Bucknell, F/C, Fr.
Mitch Rolls, Colgate, G, Fr.
Joe Willman, Bucknell, F, Fr.