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June 27, 2013

C.J. McCollum


Portland, No. 10

THE MODERATOR:  Start with an opening statement.
C.J. McCOLLUM:  Rip City.  Thank you guys for coming out.  Appreciate it.  We're now open for questions.

Q.  C.J., congratulations to you.  Talk about Damian Lillard, you have similar games, very explosive.  How are you guys going to be able to create matchup problems next season?
C.J. McCOLLUM:  I think offensively we're both going to be a handful, scoring in multiple ways.  We have scoring off the dribble.  We have scoring‑‑ playing off the ball.  One of the things people don't know is we're both unselfish.  For a win we want to do whatever is necessary to win.  People will see that as we get to play together.

Q.  What was the moment where this night seemed the farthest away from you with all the challenges you faced?  And what does it mean to be here?
C.J. McCOLLUM:  It seemed challenging when I was 5'2" my freshman in high school.  It seemed a little closer when I got to college.  When I broke my foot it seemed a bit farther away.  Throughout my senior year I realized I had a really good chance to go to the NBA.

Q.  C.J., congratulations.  You played baseball and it was kind of a blessing in disguise, right?  You were allergic to grass.  You almost ended up being a baseball player.
C.J. McCOLLUM:  Baseball was my best sport growing up.  But it was kind of boring.  Basketball was more intense.  And I like the fact that when I shot threes, they'd yell "three!" and stuff like that.
The fact that I was allergic to grass, that did have a huge factor in me deciding to stop playing it.

Q.  C.J., did you play one‑one‑one with your brother in the last 24 hours?  And if so, who won?
C.J. McCOLLUM:  No, we did not.  However, I do have a flight to Portland maybe or maybe not.  If he takes the flight, he can take the flight.

Q.  Big night.  I have to ask, Lehigh known for engineers, but not exactly known for professional athletes.  How did you pick Lehigh?  Did you think about coming to the Ivy League?  We could have used you at Colombia.
C.J. McCOLLUM:  Lehigh picked me.  It was a situation I hadn't heard of them.  But they gave me a chance.  The coaching staff was great from the beginning.  One of the first schools to recruit me.
The Ivy League, one of the things I didn't like is  they didn't give full‑ride scholarships.  So there was no chance I was going to the Ivy League.

Q.  C.J., you have spoken a lot about feeling like you always have to overcome, that there were always doubters.  How long do you embrace this moment?  And do you wake up tomorrow saying I got to start proving it all over again?
C.J. McCOLLUM:  You have to prove yourself night in and night out.  That's one of the things 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.  Whether I have a press conference or not, I have to get ready for the summer league and the next step, the challenge of being in the NBA.

Q.  Did you ever get an inkling maybe the Trailblazers were more interested in you than some other teams?
C.J. McCOLLUM:  I knew they were interested, if that answers your question.  I don't know about more interested.  Maybe.

Q.  C.J., last year we saw Damian Lillard quite a bit.  Kind of a versatile type of guard.  How can you be in that type of system?  Can you be versatile to play both systems if Damian is doing the same?
C.J. McCOLLUM:  Absolutely.  I feel I can play both positions.  I played both positions in college.  I've gotten stronger and bigger and more wise.  So I have a greater understanding of the game.  I'm trying to fulfill a role, whatever is necessary.  Whether it coming off the bench, playing beside him.  I don't care.  I'm in the NBA.

Q.  First of all, congratulations.  You have a big fan in Damian Lillard.  He's been all over Twitter.  He was with us in the draft process, you might be the best player in the draft.  Now you're going to play with him.  How do you feel about that?
C.J. McCOLLUM:  It's a blessing to be able to play in the NBA.  It's even more blessing to be able to play with Rookie of the Year.  A guy you can learn from.  A guy who has been in similar situations as you.  He seemed like he's where I'm trying to get.  He has a great understanding of the game.  He's had a huge impact his rookie year.  One of two rookies to play all 82 games.  He led the NBA in minutes.
I got a lot to learn and I look forward to it.

Q.  First of all, congratulations on behalf of all of us.  One of the things I noticed being in that room was you got one of the loudest receptions out of all the guys that got drafted up to that point.  Talk a little about the Lehigh University fan support.  You have a lot of teammates, a lot of alumni here to support you.   What is that feeling like today?
C.J. McCOLLUM:  It's an amazing feeling.  To see people shout my name and to recognize faces.  I'm getting interviewed by a guy I know in Carl.  It's crazy.  The type of love and support we get at Lehigh.  I know we've never had an NBA player before.  Second player drafted from the Patriot League.  Hopefully Mike's name will get called soon.
This is just a blessing.  I'm blessed to be able to represent my home state, my city, Lehigh and my family.

Q.  Trey, you are an NBA player now, and I'm sure your coaches gave you a lot of advice or words to encourage you or to support you.  Can you tell us which word inspired you most?
C.J. McCOLLUM:  I talked to coach.  My name is C.J. McCollum.

Q.  Sorry.
MICHAEL CARTER‑WILLIAMS:  It's all right.  He basically told me just continue to do what I've been doing.  Be myself.  Work hard, and everything will fall into place.  That's one of the biggest things.  You have to be yourself.

Q.  C.J., what is the one thing that you don't know about the NBA that you're eager to find out?
C.J. McCOLLUM:  Is that a trick question?  I don't know anything about the NBA.  I've never played there.  I've researched it and only heard stories.  It's one thing to read it and watch it on TV.  You can tell me how good Chris Paul is but you don't know until you go head to head with him.  I'm a rookie and there's a reason they call us rooks.

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