By C.J. McCollum, for NBA.com
Ready To Walk
On May 20th, I will be walking across the stage to earn my bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from Lehigh University. I’ll be coming straight from the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp to get my diploma at our commencement ceremony that Monday at 10 a.m. My family will be there watching, and my mom, especially, is going to be really proud of me. I am happy and thrilled to finish in four years at a school like Lehigh. It was a terrific experience. I came in as a boy and am leaving as a grown man. I said I was going to graduate and I’m about to do it!
Sometimes people ask me why I stayed for my senior year when I probably could have been a first-round pick last year. First of all, I promised my parents I would get my degree in four years. I also felt like I had a great opportunity at Lehigh to better myself, on and off the floor. I felt like having to manage the balance between school and basketball would help me stay grounded and focused on the task at hand, which was to get my degree in four years and prepare for life after basketball.
There were risks and rewards for both leaving school early and staying, but I was willing to take the risk of returning for my senior year. I’m very content and comfortable with the decision I made. Coming to Lehigh was one of the best decisions I ever made, and staying was an even greater decision. Even though I got hurt last year, I learned a lot and wouldn’t change anything. Actually, I think my injury was a blessing in disguise because it gave me a chance to focus on other things, like academics, and also allowed me to work on my body and improve my overall physical strength.
I’m going to really miss the relationships and friendships I’ve developed here. There’s nothing like the college atmosphere, especially living with your teammates. I’m already starting to miss it and I’m still here!
A Day In The Life
I am very busy these days between wrapping up the school year and getting in my workouts. I have class from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I typically start those days with an on-court workout and treatment. After about six hours of class (with a lunch break of course), I go home, eat a snack and head straight to the weight room to do the workout that our strength and conditioning coaches created for me. Then it’s physical therapy for my foot and more shooting practice at night. But my day isn’t over yet. I usually go to the library until about 2 a.m. finishing up research papers and presentations. My full workouts are on the days that I don’t have class, and my coaches incorporate boxing into my workouts, which is fun. Every day is a specific workout tailored to different parts of my body.
I’ve been lifting since January 11, and I’m feeling good. I’m excited and happy with how far I’ve come. But I have a long way to go to get where I ultimately want to end up. I want to excel at the next level — not just get there — so there’s a lot of work to be done.
Mission: Select An Agent
The process of picking my agent was hectic and very stressful. There are a lot of agents out there that are good at what they do, but I knew I had to make that decision based on what was best for me. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make in my life. My mom told me that I’d know when it felt right, and that was true. Excel Sports Management felt like the right fit for me. I think working with Excel will be very beneficial for my playing future, and off the court as well.
Bring on The Big Apple!
I recently traveled to New York City, and it was a very, very entertaining trip. In addition to meeting the Excel team, I had my first-ever professional photo shoot. I got to try on all kinds of different outfits. Now that’s something I’d like to take part in again — I was very comfortable, not camera shy at all! I also went to the Beats By Dre store, and signed the wall where all kinds of famous people have signed. Oh, and I had my first New York City hot dog! The city has a lot to offer, and I was very thankful for the opportunity to meet a lot of great people! I definitely look forward to coming back to start my pre-draft workouts.