Rip City, meet C.J. McCollum, one of the newest members of the Portland Trail Blazers. He’s excited to be here and the feeling is mutual with the team.

“It’s a great situation, great ownership and great coach,” said McCollum. 

“I think it’s a situation where I felt like I could thrive. I have guys in front of me where I could learn from. Damian Lillard is a guy that has done it before; he’s where I’m trying to get to in terms of being rookie of the year, playing 82 games in the year, being injury-free throughout his career thus far, besides not breaking his foot like I did. I think it’s a good situation and the biggest thing coming out of college is to go where you’re wanted, you don’t want to be somebody’s second or third option where you’re looking at the board and he’s there, let’s take him. You want it to be: That’s the guy. And I felt like that was a situation where they wanted me; I wanted them. It was a mutual love.”

General Manager Neil Olshey was ecstatic when McCollum was available at No. 10 to the Blazers. Ecstatic enough that he apparently slapped team owner Paul Allen’s knee in a ‘how about that?’ type statement.

“He’s the whole package, he’s similar to Dame (Lillard) the way he carries himself,” said Olshey. “He has command presence on the floor, he’s got incredible confidence.”

“He can really make plays off the dribble, which is something I think will make our offense a little more fluid. He’s another guy who really wanted to be here, I think, from early on in the process. His agent is a friend of mine. He talked right away that this is the best place for him. He and Damian have been in constant communication, it was just a perfect fit. For a long time we didn’t feel like he was going to get to us, and when he was, we were ecstatic.”

If McCollum proves to be as good as he’s being touted, Portland may have found yet another gem via the draft.

Fans can get their first look at C.J. when he plays on Portland’s Summer League team later this month. And in a surprise announcement, the Blazers announced Damian Lillard will play with the team in Las Vegas where he was named co-MVP last year.

  In addition to McCollum and Lillard, Allen Crabbe, who was originally chosen by Cleveland in the second round and traded to Portland – and Meyers Leonard among others – will be on Portland’s roster.


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