March 22, 2012
Center Valley, Pa. - The accolades continued to roll in for Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum on Thursday, as the junior standout beat out players from the Big East, Atlantic Coast Conference, Atlantic 10 and more to earn the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division I Men's Basketball Player of the Year award.
McCollum was one of five players that also earned ECAC first-team All-Star honors, where he was joined by Scott Machado (Iona), Kevin Jones (West Virginia), Kris Joseph (Syracuse) and Andrew Nicholson (St. Bonaventure).
Bucknell junior forward Mike Muscala took a spot on the ECAC second team, along with Jeremy Lamb (Connecticut), Zach Rosen (Penn), Mike Scott (Virginia) and Mike Glover (Iona). The Patriot League, Big East and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) were the only leagues with multiple players making the ECAC All-Star Team.
McCollum is no stranger to honors from the ECAC, as he was named the organization's Rookie of the Year after winning the Patriot League Player of the Year honor as a freshman in 2010. He is the first ECAC Player of the Year winner from the Patriot League since Colgate's Adonal Foyle shared the honor in 1997.
McCollum and Muscala are just the fifth and sixth Patriot Leaguers to earn ECAC All-Star status, and first since Lafayette's Brian Ehlers in 1999. McCollum joined Foyle (1996, 1997) and Holy Cross' Rob Feaster (1994) as first-team ECAC All-Star picks.
Both players have already received national accolades for their outstanding junior season. Each was selected to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) first-team All-District 13 squad, while CollegeInsider.com named McCollum to the Lute Olson All-America Team (all Division I players) and Muscala to the Lou Henson All-America squad (Mid-Major players). McCollum is up for both the Lute Olson (Player of the Year) and Lou Henson (Mid-Major Player of the Year) awards from CollegeInsider.com, while Muscala is also a candidate for the Lou Henson Award. The honors will be announced on March 30.
McCollum was named Patriot League Player of the Year for the second time in his career, and added the Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player Award while leading Lehigh to the League title with an 82-77 win on March 7 at Bucknell. He stands fifth in the country in scoring (21.9) and steals (2.6), and also ranks in the top five in the Patriot League in rebounds (6.5) and assists (3.5). McCollum earned six Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week awards, tying his single-season record set last year. He earned national attention last week for scoring 30 points to lead the Mountain Hawks to one of the biggest upsets in the history of the NCAA Tournament, a 75-70 shocker for No. 15 seed Lehigh over No. 2 Duke on Friday. McCollum and the Mountain Hawks saw their season come to an end with a 70-58 loss to No. 10 seed Xavier on Sunday.
Muscala had another outstanding season for the Bison, who won the Patriot League regular-season title and advanced in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) with a 65-54 win at Arizona on Wednesday. The Bison saw their season come to an end with a second-round NIT loss by a 75-67 final at Nevada on Sunday. Muscala is fourth in the Patriot League with 17.0 points per game and leads all players by a wide margin with 9.1 rebounds per contest. He has 16 double-doubles for the season, including a 30-point, 14-rebound effort in the League Championship loss to Lehigh. Muscala totaled 75 points and 38 rebounds combined in Bucknell's last three games. Muscala earned first-team All-Patriot League honors for the second straight season after also receiving the Player of the Year award in 2011.
For the full release from the ECAC, click here