Scouting Take: C.J. McCollum of Lehigh

While the nation learned of the name C.J. McCollum last night thanks to a 30-point performance in leading the 15th-seeded Lehigh Mountain Hawks in a major upset over Duke, those in the Patriot League are familiar with the silky smooth lead guard.

Living in the Northeast, I’ve had the opportunity to see McCollum several times this year, and his ability to combine his supreme athleticism within a very structured and disciplined system is a major plus in his ledger.

McCollum possesses a rare combination of scoring ability and length at the guard position that allows him to get his shot whenever he needs to, but what I love most about him is his poise and confidence to be a leader in a very physical conference. He has a physical nature to his game, but also has the athleticism and moxie to get into space and create scoring options for himself.

It’s easy to question a player who plays in a small conference, but McCollum can play at a very high pace while playing within his team’s slower style of system. That’s a discipline that displays the ability to take the game over offensively, while keeping his teammates active and involved. Against Duke he was the best guard on the floor in a game that featured a supreme talent, namely Austin Rivers, but it was his ability to raise the level of his teammates’ play that allowed each to believe they could win. They were absolutely the better team yesterday and that type of effort comes from on floor leadership.

Just a junior, McCollum can benefit from another year of development, proving he can get a little stronger, but also that they can take their program a bigger step forward seeing that they have a handful of juniors returning. McCollum would be wise to keep the obvious bond together and wreak havoc on the Patriot League once again.

Defensively, it’s hard not to appreciate his ability to rebound and get in the passing lanes. In my estimation he defend the ball at both the one and two spots and is long enough to cover most NBA shooting guards.

He really is a very complete player at this stage, the only knock I can see is that he has episodes when he settles for his jump shot when he should be taking the ball to the basket and drawing contact like he did yesterday, and against Bucknell in the Patriot championship game. That said, it’s hard to pick on his offensive game considering he’s 4th in the nation in scoring, shooting 45% from the field and 80% from the stripe.

Strengths:

- Complete scorer at the guard position with scorer’s mentality.

- Can score from multitude of spots on the floor.

- Solid two-way player.

- Consummate teammate.

Weaknesses:

- Defined position. Is he a lead guard or bench scorer?

- Not a supreme athlete.

- Three point shot selection.

Tommy Dee is the founder of TheKnicksBlog, editor of CHARGED Magazine and is a regional scout for Marty Blake and Associates. Follow him on Twitter.

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