C.J. McCollum's story started gaining momentum – if only in his mind – when he was a 5-foot-2, 108-pound high school freshman.

By the time he torched Duke in the 2012 NCAA Tournament as a college junior, his talents were on the mind of every NBA franchise executive.

The latest chapter in McCollum's ascent came June 27, when he became the first Lehigh player selected in the NBA draft. The 6-foot-3 guard was taken by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 10th overall pick.

McCollum became just the third senior chosen in the first 10 picks since 2007. He also is only the second Patriot League player to be drafted.

Colgate center Adonal Foyle was the first, selected eighth overall by Golden State in 1997. A few hours after McCollum was drafted, Bucknell forward Mike Muscala became the third Patriot League player to be picked, going 44th to Dallas, which traded his rights to Atlanta.

"You have to prove yourself night in and night out," McCollum said after being drafted. "That's the one thing I pride myself in. I'm going to enjoy this moment tonight with my friends and family and definitely celebrate and take it all in.

"Tomorrow is back to work, back to business."

McCollum has reached this point in his basketball career not only because of his athleticism but because of his work ethic.
He left Lehigh as the Patriot League's all-time leading scorer and with a journalism degree.
Following the announcement of his selection at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., he left his seat, hugged his dad, Errick McCollum Sr., then his mom, Kathy Andrews, as his brother, Errick Jr., gave a celebratory fist bump. His grandmother, Fannie McCollum, was just happy to be there to celebrate the moment with him.

"God's really blessed the family," Errick Sr. said. "C.J. is a very good basketball player, and he will do well."

McCollum, who participated in a predraft workout with the Kings, will team with 2013 Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard, who also came from a midmajor school. He was the No. 6 overall pick from Weber State.
The two guards have become friends and figure to work well on the court because of their skill sets and unselfishness.