Jan 11, 2013, 9:28 PM EST
Lehigh had high hopes entering this season. The Mountain Hawks defeated Duke in the NCAA tournament and returned for the 2012-2013 campaign with preseason All-American C.J. McCollum back for his senior season.
However, last week, in a loss to VCU, the nation’s leading scorer broke his foot, sidelining him for 8-10 weeks. He could be back for the Patriot League tournament, but even if he is ready to go, he may never take the college hardwood again and Lehigh coach Brett Reed is preparing his team that way, according to the Associated Press.
The 6-foot-3 McCollum is a potential first round pick in this June’s NBA Draft and the professional potential he has may keep him out of collegiate action.
“The magnitude of his future – we understand that,” Reed told the AP. “We approach this thing to where he’s fully healed, to reduce all chance of future injury, to ensure longevity of his career.”
“It’s going to be a challenge to replace him. Maybe `replace’ isn’t the right word,” added senior captain, Gabe Knutson. “We have a lot of guys who are willing and able to step up.”
The Patriot League begins Saturday for Lehigh against Holy Cross. The conference favorite entering the season will now be in an even closer battle with Bucknell for the conference title come March. It’s not all doom for Lehigh, in the end they can still go dancing. Reed will have to rely on experience from guy’s who’ve been through last season’s success, such as Knutson, Holden Greiner and Mackey McKnight.
For McCollum, this is the better decision. Like Rob Dauster pointed out earlier in the week, McCollum returned to school for his senior season to not only make another run at the tourney, but to improve his draft stock which he did. Returning this is risky, especially if he re-injuries his foot, hurting all the progress he’s made this season as an NBA prospect.
- Bronson Koenig, Duje Dukan step forward in No. 2 Wisconsin’s win over Georgetown 0
- St. John’s seniors say they ‘grew up’ against Minnesota, but have they? 1
- The little things made a big difference in No. 3 Arizona’s win over No. 15 San Diego State 0
- Butler upsets No. 5 North Carolina in Battle 4 Atlantis opener 2
- If No. 12 Villanova doesn’t have a star on their roster, no one told JayVaughn Pinkston 0
- JayVaughn Pinkston’s block gives No. 12 Villanova a win over No. 19 Michigan (VIDEO) 2
- Maryland upsets No. 13 Iowa State as fearless freshmen mix with gritty veterans for balanced effort 3
- Villanova’s win is evidence of why VCU may have peaked as a basketball program (14)
- Rick Pitino on blow out win: ‘We played four white guys and an Egyptian’ (14)
- Michigan’s John Beilein rips ESPN for late tip time during Tuesday’s loss (13)
- College Basketball Talk’s latest top 25: Kentucky reigns, but how far will Kansas, Florida slide? (5)
- Report: Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins broke his jaw (4)