Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum took an unconventional path to stardom. In a basketball world hype cycle that touts one-and-dones at power programs, McCollum played four years at low-major Lehigh, where he was also an was an assistant editor at the school paper, The Brown and White. He utilized his skill set—shooting, defense, off-the-ball explosiveness and on-floor intelligence—to great effect, securing a near-max contract extension with Portland before the 2017 season.
To laud McCollum for all this, though, is to sell him short. McCollum is one of the most interesting and thoughtful people in the sport, a side that he showcases on his podcast, "Pull Up." Never one to go the common route, McCollum is one of a handful of players who went overseas in search of more lucrative, more player-friendly sneaker deals. Simply put, McCollum is a player who must be watched as he increases his footprint in the sport.