Lehigh prepping for life without star G McCollum
By GENARO C. ARMAS
(AP) -- The best-case scenario for injured Lehigh guard C.J. McCollum is for the preseason All-American to return in two-plus months, just in time for the Patriot League tournament.
But his potentially lucrative future in the NBA may take precedence over a speedy recovery.
There's more to life, after all, then helping the Mountain Hawks in the conference tourney. Several factors need to be considered.
Either way, Lehigh coach Brett Reed is preparing for life without the senior who helped the Mountain Hawks stun powerhouse Duke in the NCAA tournament last season. Reed is trying to be realistic, and said there was a distinct possibility McCollum may have played his last game at Lehigh.
"We have to progress," he said, "and move on."
McCollum suffered a broken left foot last week in a game against Virginia Commonwealth. He underwent what the school deemed "successful surgery" on Tuesday.
The estimated recovery time is eight to 10 weeks, but the school warned that would depend on the healing process. The timeline could make him available in early March.
McCollum, at the time of his injury, was leading the country in scoring (25.7 points). Lehigh (10-4) hosts Holy Cross to open Patriot League play on Saturday.
"It's going to be a challenge to replace him. Maybe `replace' isn't the right word," said McCollum's roommate and fellow team captain, Gabe Knutson. "We have a lot of guys who are willing and able to step up."
McCollum is considered a potential first-round pick in the NBA draft, and has averaged 21.3 points over his career at Lehigh. On March 16 of last year, McCollum scored 30 points as Lehigh, a No. 15 seed, defeated the Blue Devils, 75-70.
"The magnitude of his future - we understand that," Reed said. "We approach this thing to where he's fully healed, to reduce all chance of future injury, to ensure longevity of his career."
McCollum had been a mainstay in the Lehigh lineup until this year. He ended a streak of 109 straight games last month when he missed a contest because of an ankle injury. This absence will be much longer, though Lehigh does have other veterans to lean on.
Knutson (15.7 points) and fellow senior Holden Greiner (11.7 points, 6.6 rebounds) give Reed a savvy duo in the frontcourt, while junior Mackey McKnight (11.3 points, 5.1 assists) gives the Mountain Hawks another backcourt scoring option.
"We've got to shore up the defense and make sure we rebound as a team," Knutson said. "But we'd be saying that with or without C.J."
Reed called adjusting to the loss of McCollum one of the most difficult midseason challenges he's had to face in his six years coaching Lehigh. He said the already established emphasis on sharing the basketball will help, though he must tweak the system that primarily played through McCollum "without totally changing who we are."
"It would be impossible and improbable to replace C.J.," Reed said. "It will require the collective effort of everybody ... to try to cover" the tasks McCollum performed.
Winning the Patriot League just got tougher.
Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP
Updated January 10, 2013
We check in for our weekly update from Bill Belichick and get his take on the Pats win over the Texans on the road, the benching of Stevan Ridley, and Antonio Smith's thinly veiled Spygate comments after the Texans lost.
Patriots’ defensive end, Rob Ninkovich, joins Mut and Merloni on a Patriots Monday after the team’s victory in Houston. Rob addresses the postgame comments of Texans’ defensive lineman Antonio Smith and the defense struggling against the run.
Tom Brady joined the show fresh off the teams 9th win of the season in Houston. He dismissed Antonio Smith's spying allegations and told the guys he has already moved on.
Eagle checks in to give Grande and Max a perspective on the Brooklyn Nets after they acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett via trade earlier this summer. He breaks down what he thinks the future holds for the Nets after completing this blockbuster deal.
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
In the first hour of this edition of the Celtics Summer Cooler, Grande and Max analyze the trade that sent Fab Melo out of Boston. Also in this hour, Max sets the story straight about his history with Larry Bird.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier talk with Jon Lester about contract negotiations, losing a teammate like Jacoby Ellsbury, the World Series run, and looking ahead to 2014.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are back witht he Hot Stove Show. They talk about Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the New York Yankees, the Red Sox signings of AJ Pierzynski and Edward Mujica, and wrap it up with Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester, who talks about the World Series run, losing a teammate like Ellsbury and looking towards 2014.
The Red Sox new catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, joined the show to discuss his reputation as the most hated man in baseball. He also said that he turned down multi-year deals to come and win in Boston.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed the teams long layoff leading into their game tomorrow night in Montreal. He told the guys that he anticipates fighting being a part of hockey for years to come.
Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
Kirk Minihane answered any and all questions from the listeners and John and Gerry.
The New York Post's Joel Sherman joined the show with his thoughts on jacoby Ellsbury's signing with the Yankees. He said that if it were up to him he would have given the money to Robinson Cano over Ellsbury.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. They discussed how Ron Burgundy has officially jumped the shark and played sound of him on Dan Patrick.
Michael Fabiano, fantasy expert and Yankees fan, gives his opinion on the Cano signing, discusses Julian Edelman's rising fantasy value, and actually suggests starting Ryan Fitzpatrick
Jackie Mac joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Rajon Rondo, the Celtics, and the Jacoby Ellsbury deal with the Yankees.
Johnny Damon joins Mut and Merloni to clear the air about his free agent signing with the Yankees and discusses Ellsbury's signing.
We check in with ESPN's great play-by-play man Mike Tirico for a look around the NFL, and a preview of Pats/Browns.
We tackle four topics centered on the movers and shakers in MLB right now.
We start talking about Robbie Cano and the reported 10 year, 240 million dollar contract on the table from the Mariners, and a little debate about him vs Pedroia broke out.
Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
Mike Lupica of the Daily News joined the show to give the New York reaction to the Ellsbury signing. He said that the Yankees drastically overpaid.More from this show
The Red Sox new catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, joined the show to discuss his reputation as the most hated man in baseball. He also said that he turned down multi-year deals to come and win in Boston.More from this show
Johnny Damon joins Mut and Merloni to clear the air about his free agent signing with the Yankees and discusses Ellsbury's signing.More from this show
Buster Olney joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the Yankees and the possibility of the Red Sox trading for Andre Ethier.More from this show