Articles

C.J. McCollum

SG Lehigh
6’3” 165 lbs 9/19/91

 

CJ McCollum

 

Lehigh Mountainhawks                  Senior                        Point Guard/Shooting Guard          #3

 

6'3"                 200 Pounds                21 Years Old             From: Canton, OH

 

23.9 PPG        5.0 RPG          2.9 APG          1.4 SPG           49.5 FG%       51.6 3P%

 

 

 

Overview: McCollum came into this college basketball season as one of the most well-known small school prospects. He put his name on the national map after scoring 30 points in the first round of last year's NCAA tournament, helping 15-seed Lehigh stun 2-seed Duke. McCollum's senior season began as strongly as his junior season ended. He increased his scoring output while raising his shooting percentages across the board. A foot injury late in the non-conference slate ended his career at Lehigh. As other guards in the lottery have struggled down the stretch in the post season, McCollum remains an attractive late lottery pick.

 

McCollum is an absolute scoring machine. Any team that pursues him in the NBA Draft knows that he is an elite scorer on the offensive end of the court. From his junior to his senior season, his shooting mechanics have improved dramatically. McCollum has always had a nice, high release point and now with his improved mechanics, he's becoming a deadly shooter.  McCollum's greatest improvement has been his increase in 3-point percentage from 34.1 % to 51.6%  this season. He also has a very quick and effective pullup jumper. McCollum can be effective both with the ball in his hands as well as working off the ball to get open while running around screens. He's a high IQ player who knows how to get open and find his spots. He is a very good ball handler, which allows him to be a deadly scorer in the isolation setting. His best moves are his crossover and his hesitation moves which he can pull off with both hands. He has a quick first step and is crafty in the lane; he also isn't afraid of contact in the lane and is deadly from the free throw line. With the ball in his hands, he can read screens very well and knows how to create an ideal angle for him to blow by either his man or the help defender. Coming off the pick and roll, McCollum does an excellent job of splitting both defenders, really opening up the defense. Once inside, he can either finish with a smooth floater or he often looks for his teammates.

 

One of the things he'll need to work on offensively is his court vision. McCollum has high turnover numbers, which isn't ideal for someone who handles the ball and has a usage rate as high as he does. Some of this is a function of being far and away the most talented player on his team and that will change at the NBA level where he won't have to feel as though he needs to dominate as much. He has a tendency to try and force passes that shouldn't be thrown and occasionally misses an open teammate that he should dish to. Additionally, due to his size, McCollum will have a bit more trouble finishing around the hoop in traffic at the NBA level.

 

On defense, he's a mixed bag. McCollum lacks elite athleticism, and therefore he can have trouble keeping quicker guards ahead of him. He's a decent athlete but his lateral quickness isn't tremendous so it can be easy for guys to get by him occasionally. Also, he'd be undersized at the shooting guard position if he played there in the NBA, and bigger 2 guards wouldn't have much trouble scoring on him. Added bulk will help him in this regard. Off the ball, he's a better defender. He's a high IQ player who doesn't gamble and plays very good team defense. He knows which rotations to make and does so very effectively. He has a 6 foot 6 inch wingspan which helps him close out well on shooters. His arms also help him disrupt passing lanes and get on ball steals. His steals numbers have dropped this year, but he's still very good at getting his hands in the lane. His one issue off-ball stems from his lack of bulk; he can have issues getting through screens effectively.

 

One other thing McCollum does tremendously for his position is rebound. While his rebounding numbers have dipped this year, in his four year career at Lehigh, he never averaged less than 5 rebounds per game. On the defensive end, he consistently looks for a man to box out and grabs position effectively. He doesn't look to leak out in transition like many other guards; he helps his team secure the ball.

 

Overall, McCollum can flat out score the basketball. Although he comes from a small school, he's had great performances against power conference teams and NBA teams shouldn't worry about his ability to play against top talent.  While he's a bit of a tweener guard, if he can improve his court vision a bit, he could become a very complete NBA talent. He's a very similar pro prospect to Damian Lillard , the NBA's likely Rookie of the Year. He should be a mid to late lottery pick and his scoring ability should instantly translate to the league.

 

 

 

Key Strengths:

 

·      McCollum is an excellent scorer and shooter. He can put the ball in the hoop from anywhere and has a variety of ways to score the basketball.

 

·      He rebounds extremely well for his position and isn't afraid at all of contact.

 

·      He is a high IQ player who understands how to work around screens and use the court on both sides of the ball.

 

·      His off-ball defense, aided by his wingspan, is very good.

 

·      He is a big game player who thrives under pressure.

 

Areas to Improve:

 

·      McCollum needs to improve his court vision. He's a scoring guard right now, and a very good one, but added court vision and cutting down on turnovers could make him a great point guard.

 

·      His on-ball defense isn't great; he's susceptible to being blown by on the defensive end because he's a decent but not great athlete.

 

·      Added bulk could help him compete to be a 2-guard if his court vision doesn't improve.