PORTLAND -- Playing basketball in the summer is something many kids do most days, but it s not every day you get to play alongside a NBA player.
That was the case this week at Rosemont Ridge Middle School in West Linn. That player was Portland Trail Blazers Guard C.J. McCollum, who hosted his first youth basketball camp.
It gives me an opportunity to kind of give back to the community, says McCollum. I ve been blessed and fortunate enough to be in a situation to where I m a bit of a public figure. Not to the magnitude of some of my teammates, but I m in a position where I can give back to the community. I was a kid once and I realize how important it is for NBA players to come back and give back, so that s what I m doing.
The 22-year-old McCollum hosted the four-day camp at Rosemont Ridge Middle School in West Linn Monday through Thursday. The campers ranged in age from 5-14.
I love working with kids and it s a lot of fun for me to interact with them and kind of just see just how different each person s personality is and that s the biggest thing for me, he said.
McCollum is from Canton, Ohio and was drafted by the Blazers after an outstanding college career at Lehigh.
He suffered a fractured left foot before last season and wound up playing only 38 games. He averaged 5 pts per game.
McCollum was one of the top scorers in the Las Vegas Summer league, averaging 20 pts per game for the Blazers.
He also says he s enjoyed the summer.
Summer s going great, said McCollum, I ve done a lot of traveling. I ve been working out, trying to get better for the upcoming season. I just really look forward to the opportunity to go through a full training camp, to go through a full year of being healthy. Obviously, I've got a little bit of summer left to improve and to get ready to go in September.