|McCallum, Jr. is a hyper athletic guard from a mid-major conference. (bloguin.com)|
Position: Point Guard
DraftExpress Prediction: No. 17 in the second round, No. 47 overall to the Atlanta Hawks
Synopsis: Fourteen months ago, Ray McCallum, Jr. and his Detroit Titans teammates were darkhorse candidates to pull an NCAA Tournament upset. They had a seemingly favorable matchup against a below-standards Kansas program with a history of struggles against mid-major opponents in the big dance and teams from the Titans' conference, the Horizon League, had strong showings in recent tournament appearances, propelled largely by the success of Butler before it bolted for the Atlantic 10. The Jayhawks dashed Detroit's hopes quickly, winning 65-50 and marching to a national championship game against Kentucky. Facing Kansas, McCallum was about as much of a non-factor as a team's primary player can be, scoring just eight points on 4-15 shooting (including 0-5 from three), failing to get to the free-throw line and compiling a 5-5-3 assists-rebounds-steals line over 37 minutes of playing time.
More than a year later, McCallum improved his numbers in nearly every relevant category and had another season to mature, one in which his Detroit squad missed out on a second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth by losing in its conference tournament. A magnificent ball-handler, McCallum managed 4.5 assists per game (4.8 per 40 minutes) during 2012-13 while assuming the role of the Titans' leading scorer, dropping 18.4 ppg (19.8 per 40). He's strongest inside the arc, shooting 47.7 percent from two-point territory compared to only converting 31.7 percent of his 3-point attempts. Regardless of his poor performance from long range, and his sub-par 71.5 percent free throw shooting, McCallum managed to be one of the NCAA's top scorers, finishing the season tied for 33rd among Division I players.
McCallum is capable of scoring and should be able to translate that when he enters pro ranks due to his athleticism. He has a 40" maximum vertical leap that will allow him to elevate at the rim and into the off-the-dribble jump shots he prefers to take. His efficiency will need to improve dramatically to make him a viable scoring option away from the hoop, but McCallum's ability to create his own shot and handle the ball in the open court ensures he will be an asset in the open court for whichever team selects him.
Like fellow point guard prospect Shane Larkin, McCallum is the son of a former professional athlete. The senior McCallum played in the NBA, thus McCallum Jr., should be well aware of the rigors that accompany a life in the Association.
To make his own way, McCallum the younger must make better shot selection when not attacking the paint. His decision-making elsewhere is not a problem, however, as he posted a solid 2.16 assist-to-turnover ratio as a junior and turned the ball over on only 12 percent of the possessions he used this season. McCallum is a project, for sure, but his upside makes him worth a second-round pick as McCallum could produce immediately in limited minutes if given the chance.
Quote to Note: "I don't get to play on TV that much and seeing [the other PGs at the combine] play every night on TV while I'm sitting at home fuels my fire inside. [I was] eager to get the opportunity to play against those guys. Now that the chance is finally here, I'm just trying to showcase to everybody that I can play with anyone." - McCallum on the NBA Draft combine leveling the playing field for entrants from small schools, via DraftExpress.
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