Lehigh's McCollum declares for NBA draft to explore professional possibilities

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Lehigh junior guard C.J. McCollum
Lehigh junior guard C.J. McCollum

March 28, 2012

From Lehigh Athletic Communications

Bethlehem, Pa. - Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum has declared himself eligible for the 2012 NBA draft. The 2012 Patriot League player of the year, McCollum established himself as one of the nation's most prolific scorers, as he averaged 21.9 points per game as a junior, while leading the Mountain Hawks to the third round of the NCAA tournament.

McCollum has not hired and does not intend to hire an agent, which means he would be eligible to return to Lehigh for his senior season if he withdraws from the draft before the first day of the spring National Letter of Intent period, which this year begins on April 11. It is not unusual for potential prospects to follow this course of action in order to better assess their draft status.

McCollum hopes to utilize this opportunity to gather information from NBA teams to determine his prospects for playing in the league while also determining areas of improvement within his game.

"This is a great opportunity for me to receive valuable information and feedback on my future," McCollum said. "Playing in the NBA has always been a dream of mine and I feel blessed to even be considered. Lehigh has given me the opportunity to not only play basketball, but to study at a prestigious academic institution as well. By not hiring an agent I leave myself the option of returning to school after my evaluation."

In just three seasons, McCollum has risen to the top of several Lehigh and Patriot League career statistical lists. He eclipsed the 2000 point mark against American in the Patriot League semifinals March 3 and currently ranks second in school history and third in league annals with 2,074 points.

In his junior season McCollum ranks fifth in the nation in scoring, averaging 21.9 points per game while pulling down 6.5 rebounds and handing out 3.5 assists per game. McCollum also ranks fifth nationally in steals, averaging 2.6 per contest. He scored 30 points as 15th-seeded Lehigh defeated No. 2 seed Duke 75-70 in an NCAA tournament second round game in Greensboro, N.C.

"I'm pleased that C.J. McCollum has the opportunity for exploration of professional basketball," said Lehigh head coach Brett Reed. "I, as well as the Lehigh University athletic department, support him completely in this decision and we value the opportunity for him to continue to learn and grow.

Reed continued, "C.J. has been a wonderful representation of the balance between being a student and an athlete and has been a very productive contributor not only for our program, but also for our entire Lehigh Athletics community."

On Monday, McCollum was named an honorable mention All-American by the Associated Press. He was also recently tabbed as the ECAC Player of the Year as well as a member of the CollegeInsider.com Lute Olson All-America team. He is a three-time NABC All-District selection and was named Patriot League Player of the Year for the second time in his career last month. He was named the league's Player and Rookie of the Year after guiding the Mountain Hawks to a Patriot League title and NCAA tournament in 2010.

The Canton, Ohio native majors in journalism and writes for Lehigh's student newspaper, The Brown and White.