LOUDONVILLE — For now, Javian McCollum is avoiding the scale.
“I’m waiting, I’m waiting,” McCollum said. “I want to surprise myself.”
But when he finally steps onto a scale, at some point before his sophomore season, the Siena men’s basketball lead guard knows what he wants to read.
“I want to get to 165 pounds by the season,” McCollum said Thursday as the Saints’ offseason workouts rolled along on their campus. “That’s my goal.”
That would be a sizable jump from last season when the 6-foot-2 McCollum was listed at 153 pounds, a figure the Florida native said was approximately 10 pounds heavier than his actual weight.
“But I’ve been focused on getting big in the weight room,” McCollum said. “That’s a big part of my game that I’ve got to develop. I’ve got to get stronger so I can take that bump on the court.”
McCollum will see a major bump in minutes and usage as a sophomore. A talented guard that head coach Carmen Maciariello has compared to Siena greats Doremus Bennerman and Ronald Moore, McCollum averaged 6.7 points in 18.2 minutes per game in a rookie college season spent coming off the bench. With the departures of three perimeters players — Anthony Gaines, Nick Hopkins and Colby Rogers — that each started at least 23 of Siena’s 29 games, McCollum projects as likely to play 30-plus minutes and handle the lion’s share of the ball-handling for the Saints during the 2022-23 season.
Key to achieving that, though, is McCollum taking the next steps this offseason in terms of further developing his physical stature — and it’s apparent that he’s on his way to accomplishing that. While Siena still has plenty of time to go before its next season starts, McCollum’s arms and shoulders already show the signs that his work in the weight room is paying off.
“I knew I had to build [up my body] coming in, because college is different. It’s grown men out there,” McCollum said. “I knew I had to get stronger in the weight room. It’s just about staying consistent with it at this point.”
McCollum has spent ample time this offseason working with Siena head strength and conditioning coach Ernie Ruch, while classmate Jared Billups is a frequent training partner for McCollum. The two rising sophomores are close friends and key building blocks for a Siena program coming off a 15-14 season.
“We just want to get after it,” McCollum said of the duo’s mentality this summer.
Besides strengthening his body, McCollum continues to work on his game. As a freshman, McCollum demonstrated a high-level shooting touch, making 48.2% of his field-goal attempts, 42.6% of his 3-point attempts and 84.2% of his free throws. An on-court focus for McCollum this offseason is to improve his in-the-lane floater, both to give himself another way to score and to create opportunities for teammates.
“I’m really trying to get my floater consistent, so when I get in [the paint], big men have to step up and respect it — and, then, that will create dump-offs for my bigs,” McCollum said.
But the primary aim this offseason for McCollum is to pack pounds and strength onto his body. Besides extra time in the weight room, McCollum has bettered his diet — potato chips and gummy candies are removed from it — and he wants to do whatever possible to make sure he’s ready to serve as an on-court leader for the Saints as a sophomore.
“I want to get to that next level,” McCollum said.