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Siena basketball adds playmaker McCollum

Siena basketball adds playmaker McCollum

McCollum is Saints' 3rd 2021 commit
Siena basketball adds playmaker McCollum
Carmen Maciariello is shown during a game last season.
Photographer: Gazette file photo

​After securing verbal commitments from a pair of wing players for its recruiting class of 2021, the Siena men’s basketball program added a playmaker earlier this week.

That’s Javian McCollum, a 6-foot-2 guard from Fort Myers, Florida, who announced his commitment to the Saints with a Thursday night social-media post. A guard capable of playing the 1 or 2, the 165-pound McCollum is a strong ball-handler who projects to add a well-rounded offensive game to the Saints when he arrives next year.

“Getting teammates open, getting a bucket when it’s needed,” McCollum said Friday during a phone interview when asked to describe his game’s top strengths. 

A senior at Fort Myers High School, McCollum joins a pair of wing players in Siena head coach Carmen Maciariello’s 2021 class. Stephen Coleman, a 6-foot-4 perimeter player from Ohio, and Jared Billups, a 6-foot-5 perimeter player from Maryland, committed to the Saints last month.

McCollum said he chose Siena over Lehigh. The guard said he first offered his verbal commitment Wednesday to Siena assistant coach Antoni Wyche, who coached previously at Lehigh before joining Maciariello’s staff prior to last season.

At Lehigh, Wyche coached current Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum. With a laugh, though, Javian McCollum confirmed he’s not related to the NBA star.

“I wish,” said McCollum, who is 18 years old.

McCollum said he’s never been to New York — “I was supposed to go this summer for AAU, but it got canceled” — but that he was able to tour Siena’s campus virtually during a Zoom session with Saints coaches. Throughout the recruiting process, McCollum said he developed a solid rapport with the Saints’ coaching staff that made him feel ready this week to commit.

“Siena was in constant contact with me. It made me feel like it was a family there. I was very comfortable talking with the coaches there,” McCollum said. “They kept tabs on me. Always made sure I was doing the right stuff.”

On Thursday night, McCollum said Billups reached out to him shortly after he announced his commitment to offer congratulations. While he still has a senior year to go in Florida, McCollum said he’s excited to get to the Saints’ campus next summer.

“I can’t wait to meet the coaches and all the players, and really start the process,” McCollum said.​​​

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