McCollum's maturity level may get him in fold quicker than expected

McCollum's maturity level may get him in fold quicker than expected
January 10, 2014, 1:30 pm
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Haynes and Jaynes: CJ McCollum Evaluation

TUALATIN -- Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard CJ McCollum is a smooth cat.

He’s calm, mellow, mature and under control. The 22-year old doesn’t get too riled up about anything.

Moments before his NBA debut on Wednesday night, McCollum sat in his locker room stall with his right leg over his left and his arms crossed. He was in chill mode, as the young folks say today.

He found out at shootaround that morning that he would be inserted late in the first quarter of the game against the Orlando Magic. And when he received the news, he said he was happy, but says it’s just another game.

“You know me by now. I don’t get too excited,” McCollum told “This is something I’ve done my whole life. It’s just another game. The stage maybe bigger but it’s the same game. And I know how to play this game.”

Spoken like a true pro.

The way in which he handles himself is the reason why he’s probably capable of taking on a much more significant reserve role in a small amount of time. He played 14 minutes in his debut and came away with 4 points on two-of-five shooting.

You could tell he was doing his best to fit in but there’s much more to his game and the organization is well aware of that. The plan all along was to bring McCollum along slowly with how well the team has started out the season. But with a talented young guard ready to roll, plans may change.

On Friday, Terry Stotts acknowledged after practice that he’s working on incorporating McCollum into the rotation and for a player like Dorell Wright, it just means staying ready when his number is called.

McCollum reiterated that he feels great, having returned from a broken foot, and says he’s up for any task that’s handed to him.

“I feel like I’m ready to contribute in any form,” McCollum said. “However the coach wants to use me, I’ll be ready. My job is to stay ready and be ready when he’s calls my name. This isn’t anything new to me. When it’s time to play, I’ll go play.”