For all those new to the THUNDERBLOG, Matty D, Iceman, JSB, and myself are recent graduates of Lehigh University. One of our classmates from the Class of 2013 is CJ McCollum, the tenth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft going to the Portland Trail Blazers. McCollum had been a standout for the Mountain Hawks ever since his freshman campaign, earning both Patriot League Freshman of the Year and Patriot League Player of the Year honors. He dropped 30 points in Lehigh’s victory over Duke in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, propelling him onto the national scene. During his senior season, he led the nation in scoring with our 28 points per game before breaking his foot against VCU on January 5, 2013 and missing the rest of last season. After rehabbing his foot, CJ lit up the Summer League for the Trail Blazers. But then he unfortunately broke that same foot during training camp and had been once again rehabbing his right foot. Until last night…
CJ IS BACK! He made his return last night with the Blazer’s NBA Development League Affiliate, the Idaho Stampede. His rehab stint for Idaho will simulate his play once he returns to Portland. He came off the bench to play 17 minutes and accumulated 13 points (6-13 from the field), 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 3 turnovers. Simply put: CJ looked great last night. Even the Blazers thought so:
The highlight above shows CJ’s offensive abilities but his overall play was great, especially for having not played in a regular season game in over a year. CJ showed no signs of injury as he played great on transition. CJ was able to draw defenders off from his teammates from the minute he stepped on the floor; being the 10th pick in the draft will do that. CJ was able to pass through the extra coverage to find his teammates, as shown by the six assists. He had other great feeds that led to missed shots by his Stampede teammates. He also had a few missed scoring opportunities because of bad passing from his teammates. Overall, it was a great pro-debut and this rehab stint in Idaho won’t be very long. Especially with reports that could make his NBA Debut on Tuesday continuing to circulate. He and Stampede will be back in action tonight against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers once again.
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