Draft Diaries: C.J. McCollum

Lehigh's C.J. McCollum had his first professional photo shoot in New York recently. (Pete Monsanto photo)

Lehigh’s C.J. McCollum had his first professional photo shoot in New York recently. (Pete Monsanto photo)

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.

McCollum scored 54 points in his first game as a starter in high school.

McCollum scored 54 points in his first game as a starter in high school.(Courtesy Lehigh)

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.

It’s an exciting time! Follow me on Twitter @CJMcCollum and on Instagram @ 3jmccollum to find out how everything is going!

The NBA Draft is June 27 in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. 


  1. Clara Adams says:


    So proud of you and what God has done in your life. We will follow you on your journey.

    Tom and Clara Adams

  2. Pat says:

    My family & I had the pleasure of watching CJ play at Stabler Arena for over 3 years. Our deep disappointment at not getting to see him finish his senior year is offset by our hope that he is fully healed & ready to do great things in the NBA and the rest of his life.

  3. Josh says:

    Jazz fans would love to see you in a Jazz jersey next year!