In his own words, CJ McCollum says he will withdraw from NBA draft, return to Lehigh

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On March 27, NBCSports.com reported and Lehigh University confirmed that junior guard CJ McCollum would explore his professional options.

After having two weeks to mull it over, McCollum wrote a piece in The Sporting News to announce that he would be withdrawing his name and returning to Lehigh, one day before the NCAA early-entry deadline of April 10.

“As I sit here in my mother’s car after a solid sermon on Easter Sunday at Macedonia Baptist Church, I feel 100% confident in my decision,” writes McCollum. “My family and I believe another year in college will be more beneficial for me on and off court.”

“I believe that finishing up my degree at Lehigh University is an essential and pivotal step in the right direction for my future career in Journalism and Sports Broadcasting,” he went on to say. “Growing up, I promised my mother I would complete my degree and although there is no time limit, I feel like the time is now.”

McCollum averaged 21.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in his junior season with Lehigh in 2011-12, which was punctuated with an upset win over second-seeded Duke in the Round of 64 of the NCAA tournament.

He had 30 points in that game and will return to Lehigh as the reigning two-time Patriot League Player of the Year.

“I am thankful to have even been considered an NBA prospect,” McCollum wrote. “That is a credit to my parents, coaches, hard work and the help of many people throughout my life.”

Had he stayed in the draft, he was projected to go in the late first round.

He returns to a Lehigh team that will only be losing two seasons, after their successful 2011-12 campaign.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_