Eight years before C.J. McCollum scored 41 points in Portland's near-upset of Golden State in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series, very few outside Canton, Ohio, and the Lehigh University men's basketball staff knew who he was.
McCollum was one of nine players who scored 25 or more points in the respective opening games of the 2017 NBA Playoffs. Of the eight who played college basketball, four are former low-rated recruits.
Here's a look at McCollum and others in the NBA playoffs who transformed from little-known prospects of mid-major programs to NBA players trying to lead playoff runs.
The 2008 recruiting class was headlined by B.J. Mullens, Jrue Holiday and Demar DeRozan. Damian Lillard was nowhere to be found, at least not in high-major circles.
The two-star (Rivals) point guard from Oakland (Calif.) High School did carry a pile of mid-major offers, including Saint Mary's and Wichita State, before picking Weber State in September 2007. Though Lillard was terrific in his first three years with the Wildcats, he jumped onto the national stage as a senior in 2011-12. He earned Third-Team All-American honors after averaging 24.5 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Lillard became the highest-drafted player in school history when Portland took him sixth in the 2012 draft.
Ten years ago, Jimmy Butler's NBA prospects looked bleak. Heck, even a future as a D1 star seemed unrealistic.
After high school career in Tomball, Texas, Butler played one season at Tyler (Texas) Junior College, where he averaged 18.1 points and earned a scholarship from Marquette. After a quiet sophomore season, he exploded as an efficient small forward who averaged 15.1 points and 6.1 rebounds as a senior, leading to his selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Three All-Star selections later, Butler is a long way from his days in Tomball.
C.J. McCollum was a 6-foot-1, 155-pound, unranked (Rivals) point guard when picking Lehigh over no other offers in 2009. But he wasted no time in dominating the Patriot League, averaging 19.1 points on 42-percent three-point shooting as a freshman.
He'd average at least 21 points, five rebounds and two assists in each of his next three seasons, earning three First-Team All-Patriot League and two All-American honorable mention honors and garnering NBA looks. Four years after being the Trail Blazers' 10th-overall pick, he averaged 23 points per game.
Stephen Curry will forever have a place on the unknown-recruit-turned-NBA-star roster.
A three-star (Rivals) prospect with offers from Davidson, VCU and Virginia Tech, among others, Curry went from a scrawny 6-foot-2, 165-pound point guard at Christian High School in Charlotte, N.C., to a two-time All-American.
He averaged 25.3 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting 41 percent from deep in three years with the Wildcats and became the seventh-overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.
Because Paul Millsap has been in the NBA for 11 years, we often forget where the Hawks' big man came from.
He was the 130rd-ranked player in Rivals' 2003 class, or 126 sports behind future Minnesota Timberwolves' star Ndudi Ebi. The 6-foot-7, 215-pounder from Grambling, La., picked Louisiana Tech over Ole Miss and other mid-major interest.
After leading D1 in rebounding for three-straight seasons, he was chosen by the Utah Jazz with the 47th pick in 2006. Four All-Star appearances and nearly 12,000 points later, he remains one of the game's best power forwards.