Posted: 02/27/2012 | Last updated: February 27, 2012 at 11:31 AM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Lehigh junior C.J. McCollum has been named Patriot League Player of the Year for the second time in three seasons, while teammate Gabe Knutson also earned Second Team All-Patriot League honors, as announced on Monday. A Lou Henson Award candidate, McCollum far-and-away leads the league in scoring (21.7) while standing third in rebounding (6.6) and fifth in assists (3.4).
“I’m very pleased for C.J.,” said Lehigh head coach Brett Reed. “We’ve seen an evolution of his game this year, from someone who was a gifted and wonderful scorer last year, to one who shares the basketball and makes everyone around him better. Because of that, others have continued to excel because of the trust and confidence he puts in them.”
McCollum is joined on the All-Patriot League First Team by Ella Ellis (Army), Charles Hinkle (American), Mike Muscala (Bucknell) and Ryan Willen (Lafayette). On the Second Team are Knutson, Cameron Ayers (Bucknell), Devin Brown (Holy Cross), Bryan Cohen (Bucknell), Tony Johnson (Lafayette) and Joe Willman (Bucknell). There was one additional player on the Second Team due to a tie in voting.
A native of Canton, Ohio, McCollum has continued his stellar play which began his freshman campaign when he was named Patriot League Rookie and Player of the Year. He’s enjoyed a stellar all-around effort all season, not only scoring, but also rebounding and distributing. McCollum has been named Patriot League Player of the Week six times (to tie his single-season record set last year), upping his career total to 12.
McCollum has scored 651 points in the regular season to reach 1,959 career points, good for third in school history and fourth in league history. He needs just 11 points to pass all-time great Mike Polaha for second on the Lehigh list. McCollum is only 266 points away from breaking the Patriot League record of 2,224 career points held by Holy Cross’ Rob Feaster.
Meanwhile, Knutson earns his first All-Patriot honor after averaging 12.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game (both second on the team). The Urbandale, Iowa native recently eclipsed 1,000 career points on Feb. 11 vs. Colgate, becoming the 30th player in school history and 83rd in league history to reach that plateau.
Knutson has reached double-figure points in 20 games this season and 55 for his career, highlighted by his season-high 21 at Fordham and vs. Colgate. He has two double-doubles, at Cornell and Bryant, when he grabbed a season-high 13 rebounds.
Complete Postseason Patriot League Awards
Patriot League Player of the Year: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
Patriot League Rookie of the Year: Justin Burrell, Holy Cross
Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year: Bryan Cohen, Bucknell
Patriot League Coach of the Year: Dave Paulsen, Bucknell
First-Team All-Patriot League
Ella Ellis, Army; Charles Hinkle, American; C.J. McCollum, Lehigh; Mike Muscala, Bucknell; Ryan Willen, Lafayette
Second-Team All-Patriot League #
Cameron Ayers, Bucknell; Devin Brown, Holy Cross; Bryan Cohen, Bucknell; Tony Johnson, Lafayette; Gabe Knutson, Lehigh; Joe Willman, Bucknell
# - One additional player due to tie in voting
Justin Burrell, Holy Cross; Seth Hinrichs, Lafayette; Maxwell Lenox, Army; Worth Smith, Navy; Dan Trist, Lafayette
Lehigh will host Colgate in the Patriot League Quarterfinals next Wednesday (Feb. 29) at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased on Lehighsports.com, over the phone (610-758-4263) or in-person at Stabler Arena, Monday-through-Friday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets cost $12 for adults and $6 for students/children/seniors.