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First-round pick McCollum to debut with Stampede

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Photo: Video by IdahoOnYourSide.com

First-round pick McCollum to debut with Stampede

By Paul Gerke. CREATED Jan 3, 2014

Although Boise doesn't have a professional sports team, it has played host to plenty of big league talent. Jeff Samardzija, Antoine Walker, John Lackey and dozens of other star athletes have called the City of Trees home at one point or another.

The fraternity is about to welcome a new member- C.J. McCollum.

C.J. was selected 10th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. Friday night, he made his pro debut with the Idaho Stampede.

"I've been looking forward to it for a long time," said McCollum. "You dream about playing in the NBA."

This evening's match-up against Rio Grande Valley was the first game action for McCollum since he broke a bone in his left foot in mid-October.

"You get drafted and you're close," lamented McCollum. "You're finishing up training camp two-a-days, then you get hurt right before the game. It was tough and frustrating, but I've overcome it."

Saturday's rematch with the Vipers will be McCollum's last in Idaho. He is expected to join the Trail Blazers immediately afterward. 

The 6'4'' guard played college basketball at Lehigh, where he was a two-time Patriot League Player of the Year. McCollum stayed in school and graduated with a journalism degree, taking an unconventional path to the NBA.

"It has prepared me for everything, honestly," said McCollum of his time at LeHigh. "From the academic workload, to the stress of having to go to practice and knowing you're going to be in the library all night. That stuff has prepared me for the real world, and I have a future aside from basketball."