October 18, 2012 at 6:40 pm #7169
Over the last 3 years, I have had the pleasure of watching CJ McCollum and Co play basketball about 20 or so times. Usually I drag someone along so that I can gloat alittle about good CJ is. This is not a diss at all but with a few exceptions I left amazed that he put up the stats he did. His numbers seem to accumulate quietly for me. Duke was no excption. Looking at his stats, I think I understand why. Over the last 2 years, CJs shooting % from both the 2 and the 3 have been less than the team’s average. About 25% of his points comes from the FT so he doesn’t really stand out. He scores a lot because frankly he shoots alot. Even in the Duke game he was 9-24 from the field including 2-7 from the 3. Xavier, he was 5-22 including 0-6 from the 3. He does all the little things really well like rebounding, defense, assists but when you spread those stats out over 35 minutes, in my aging head, it doesn’t quite register. With that being said however, how good could CJ be this year?
He is now entering his senior season when most players seem to peak. He will have the eyes of all the scouts watching him every game so in effect he is in the last year of his contract. Someonhow that always seems to bring out the best in players. Mostly though, he had an amazing summer. He was almost unanimously considered the best player in the CP3 camp. Several sources named him the best player in the Kevin Durant camp and he was named one of the best in the LeBron James Camp. Most importantly, everyone has been raving about his shooting at everyone of these camps. This preseason he was projected as 1st Team All-American by Sporting News. That is rarefied air recently shared with the likes of Curry and Jimmer. Although there is a small handful of games that will test his mettle this year, in theory he should be a man among boys against most of our opponents. As good as he has been in prior years, there seems to be the potential for a truly “special” season this year from CJ. The question is How high is up?
This is for discussion purposes onlyOctober 18, 2012 at 6:41 pm #7170
bumpOctober 18, 2012 at 7:34 pm #7172
I’ll take a shot at this …
First off, I think an argument can be made that CJ’s finest season was his freshman campaign. Although he averaged his lowest seasonal total (19.1 ppg), he shot a respectable 45.9 % from the field and a strong 42.1% from 3. In his first year, he only had 13.4 attempts per game. Of course, he was a bit unknown as a freshman, and teams did not key on him, like they did in his sophomore and junior seasons.
I didn’t love what I saw in the sophomore season, where his attempts went up to 17.3 per game, but connected on under 40% of his attempts (39.9%). That is Allen Iverson territory, and is not exactly efficient. Plus, his percentage from 3, dropped to 31.5% as a soph. What he really became as a sophomore was a better rebounder, raising his average from 5 as a frosh to 7.8 as a soph, which for a 6’3″ player is amazing. 9.1 rpg led the PL last season.
As a junior, I think he made real progress. He actually had less attempts as a junior at 16.4 vs. the 17.3 as a soph, and he raised his shooting percentage up to 44.3%, not as high as his freshman season, but close. Also, he added a few points to his 3 ball, up to 34.1%. His rebounding numbers fell to 6.5 rpg, but he really added to his assist total, moving to the highest for his career at 3.5 apg per contest.
CJ, for his career, has lived on the foul line. He has amaxing body control in the air, and is excellent at drawing fouls. That is why he is a quiet scorer. He slashes well to the hoop and with his body control can hang and draw contact. And, he always shoots a high percentage from the line (over 80% all 3 seasons). Good scorers need to be able to get to the line, and CJ is among the best in the country at this. Also, being a superstar generally gets you a good whistle. He is certainly going to draw more calls than anybody in the league.
All that being said, what does the senior season look like? Well, he clearly is going to be doubled often when he touches the basketball. I think about 16-17 attempts per game is right for him at this point, although 14-15 wouldn’t bother me. But, he needs to connect at a higher rate. I would like to see 46-48% from the field and 40% from 3. So, if he raised his shooting figures, I think you could get to 24 a game, with 6 rebounds and 3-4 assists. Since he is not a back to the basket player, he is going to have to work hard for all his points. They are all going to come on jumpers and moves to the hoop.
I think his role this season has to be like that of the NBA superstar. Get your teammates involved early, then be a killer down the stretch. Freeing up Gabe in the post, and the other perimeter players early in the game, will give him more room down the stretch. I would hope he takes a big step forward this season. His confidence should be at an all-time high, which at his level is huge. He is not taking many shots he doesn’t think he can make. I think he will have some big games this season of 30+. My only fear with him is this. He has played, I believe, in every game of his college career. Never injured as far as I can remember, and he has a thin frame. I am hoping he can stay healthy for another 35 games.October 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm #7173
He is able and has often risen to the team’s needs . He will be needed more this yr. If we dont wear him out, it will his and our best year. I suggest that as we will be rebound challenged, we not miss too many shotsLOLOctober 19, 2012 at 12:44 am #7174
Lehigh90, your assessment is about spot on with mine. I too expect less shots, greater % a few more points. I am actually going to be looking at the assist #s this year. Because of double-teaming and the projection of CJ being a PG in the pros, I see him looking to pass more…possibly 4-5 assists per game. CJ imo has the best rebounding technique on the team with the possible exception of CB who I haven’t seen play much against 1st string competition.
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