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News / Sports / Blazers

Blazers’ McCollum selected for All-Star Weekend events

Guard will participate in Skills Challenge

By Erik Gundersen, Columbian Trail Blazers Writer
Published: February 4, 2016, 7:16pm

PORTLAND — CJ McCollum’s breakout season received more validation Thursday when news broke that he was selected as one of eight players to participate in NBA All-Star Weekend’s Skills Challenge.

“I think it’s terrific,” Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said. “To be involved in the competition, to enjoy All-Star festivities and I’m sure he’ll enjoy it.”

McCollum will be the Blazers lone representative at NBA All-Star Weekend — after Lillard was not selected as a reserve last week — and the honor is well-deserved.

He was already planning on being in Toronto for Player’s Union meetings and to do some media work, but this will be the first time McCollum is participating in All-Star weekend.

“That young man has to be in the running for most improved (player award),” Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said. “To come from where he comes from. Again, he was a born scorer. He was a big time scorer in college, but kind of just finding his way here. Coach Stotts and his staff have done a great job of bringing him along and developing him. Where he is now is unbelievable.”

Casey didn’t stop there, calling out the omission of Portland’s Damian Lillard on the All-Star team.

“That backcourt is for real,” Casey said. “For Lillard not to make the All-Star team is a travesty. You can debate it all you want to, he’s one of the best point guards in our league, along with our guy. It’s unfortunate. Portland is very blessed with two outstanding guards for a very long period of time.”

McCollum will be participating in an expanded field in the Skills Challenge, which will include big men for the first time including Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis and Golden State’s Draymond Green.

Houston’s Patrick Beverley is the reigning champion of the Skills Challenge.

Boston’s Isaiah Thomas and Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson round out the field.

McCollum is in the midst of a career season and an invitation to participate in NBA All-Star Weekend no doubt is a sign that league has taken notice of his accomplishments this season. McCollum is averaging 20.9 points per game, 4.6 assists and 3.5 rebounds and a 51 percent effective field goal percentage.

“I would have liked to be in the Three-Point Contest too, but I’m definitely thankful for the opportunity to participate in the Skills Challenge,” McCollum told reporters prior to Thursday’s game. ” I look forward to trying to bring home another winning trophy like Dame did.”

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Columbian Trail Blazers Writer