The latest with Ray McCallum Jr.by Javier Morales on Oct. 19, 2009, under Sports
WILDABOUTAZCATS.COM LINK: WE ARE ONLY 26 DAYS AWAY FROM THE SEASON-OPENING TIP-OFF BETWEEN ARIZONA AND NAU
Detroit Country Day High School point guard Ray McCallum Jr. finally had his chance “to be just a kid” this last weekend when he was crowned Homecoming king. Instead of being treated like royalty by yet another coaching staff during an official visit, the Class of 2010 recruit was royalty with his classmates.
“Yeah, I definitely enjoyed it,” McCallum told me Monday night. “It was a time to relax and to be just a kid again. I got to hang out with my friends. It was a lot of fun memories, the kind of memories that will last forever.”
Many of those close friends of his are undoubtedly urging McCallum, the son of Detroit Mercy coach Ray McCallum Sr., to stay close to home and play for the Titans. The younger McCallum, 6-1, 179, has already visited Oklahoma and UCLA. He is scheduled to visit Arizona the weekend of Oct. 31-Nov. 1. He will be in attendance at McKale Center during the Red-Blue Scrimmage on Nov. 1. He is scheduled to visit Florida the week after that.
He does not need to officially visit Detroit. He knows all about the Titan program through his father. He even accompanied the team on its summer tour of Spain. Detroit perhaps does not have the same name value of the other programs he is considering, but it has his father as head coach.
“I am definitely looking at Detroit,” he said. “My dad has been my coach my whole life. Playing for him at Detroit would be something special. Right now, I’m looking at all the schools the same, including Detroit.”
After watching McCallum play in the summer evaluation events in Las Vegas, it is obvious that McCallum is a student of the game with his upbringing. He understands the role of point guard is to be an extension of the coach. He dictates to teammates where they should be on the floor. He gets his teammates involved other than by his superior playmaking skills.
Similarly, his interest in the game includes following the general recruitment of other players in his class, especially those linked with the schools he is considering the most.
“Yeah, I follow what’s going on really close,” said McCallum, who indicated he is aware of Concord (Mass.) Middlesex School forward Rod Odom and Phoenix North shooting guard Daniel Bejarano committing to Arizona.
“I know Daniel. I saw him play this summer. My (AAU) team played against Rod Odom’s team this summer in Las Vegas. I look at who these schools are bringing in to get a sense of what players might be playing around me. As a point guard, I want to get the ball to someone who can score. Both of those guys are really good players and they are scorers. That is something I definitely look at.”
McCallum said he has conversations mostly with UA coach Sean Miller and assistant James Whitford — “because they have known me since I was little,” he said — and he looks forward to the opportunity of taking the official visit to Arizona’s campus. He and his parents unofficially visited the UA in May.
Although the idea of watching Arizona in a public-scrimmage setting is enticing, he said he wants to gain more of a barometer of a program after watching it play a game.
“I’m interested in their style of play and how they use their guards in a real game,” McCallum said in general of all the teams recruiting him. “The season starts before the (Nov.) signing period. I should be able to see some of the games (before making a decision).”
The fall signing period runs from Nov. 11-18. The UA’s season begins Nov. 15 against NAU at McKale Center. The Wildcats play exhibition games against Augustana College (Nov. 4) and Western New Mexico (Nov. 10) before they play the Lumberjacks. Their next regular-season game is at home against Rice, but it occurs a day after the signing period ends on Nov. 19.
McCallum said he plans on signing during that period. He is not sure when he will make a decision.
“You never know,” he said. “If I go somewhere and I really like it, that could be good enough for me to make up my mind right there. I’m really keeping myself open to anything.”
McCallum is rated the No. 60 prospect overall in the Class of 2010 by Rivals.com, which considers him a 4-star player. He averaged 16.9 points, 5.3 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game last season for Detroit Country Day High School.