DePaul's Tre'Darius McCallum:  A player not to be overlooked

Lost in the hype about DePaul landing major transfers in Max Strus and Austin Grandstaff and Blue Demons coach Dave Leitao bringing in a core of solid freshmen (Levi Cook, Brandon Cyrus, Al Eichelberger and Brandon Cyrus), there is a newcomer seemingly getting little love as we approach the 2016-17 season.

Enter Tre'Darius McCallum.  

McCallum, a 6'7”, 215-pound combo forward from Indian Hills Junior College, may be just what the doctor ordered. 

Considering Leitao is losing a lot of firepower (Myke Henry, Rashaun Stimage, Tommy Hamilton, Aaron Simpson etc,) and bringing in a couple of wet-behind-their-ears freshmen, McCallum will give the Demons some veteran stability in the frontcourt. 

“We are thrilled to announce the addition of Tre’Darius McCallum to our basketball program,” said DePaul coach Dave Leitao at the time McCallum signed. “Tre is a versatile forward who can impact the game in many different ways whether that be scoring, rebounding or defending. We love that he has the skill to play multiple positions on the offensive end, but also possesses the size and athleticism to defend both post and perimeter players. He shot 40-plus percent from three this season so he gives us another guy that can stretch the defense with his ability to shoot the ball.” 

With Leitao and company only bringing back Billy Garrett Jr, Eli Cain, Darrick Wood, R.J. Curington and Erten Gazi from last season's team (as far as scholarship players go), the addition of McCallum will be a welcome relief. for a team in need of experienced big men.  

The versatility of McCallum will not go unnoticed, as from all scouting reports he is not defined to one position. He can impact the game in a variety of ways. He had a fine season at Indian Hills, as he averaged 11.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, while shooting a very healthy 40.8 percent from three-point range. 

He is your classic jack-of-all-trades player if you will. 

That versatility is something McCallum talked about here at WeAreDePaul.com when he decided to become a Blue Demon. 

“I’m very smooth,” McCallum said of his game. “I have a good feel for the ball. I play hard and I’m aggressive. I’m just a gritty player and I’m very versatile. I really don’t have a position. I can bring it up if I need to. I can come off screens. I’m just an all-around player. I can shoot and take (my man) off the dribble. I’m very fast.” 

That said, with DePaul losing Henry, Stimage and Hamilton (not to mention freshmen big men in Develle Phillips and Oumar Barry both transferring out), McCallum will likely be asked to play a lot of power forward next season. The hope here is McCallum is bulking up and will be ready for the physical battles the Big East.

As it is, outside of walk-ons Peter Ryckbosch and Joe Hanel, Leitao is bringing back no frontcourt players from last season. And while Cook and Eichelberger are promising recruits, McCallum has at least the experience of playing on the high JUCO level. 

That experience will give him a huge leg up. 

Remember how a lot of DePaul fans were more excited about Phillips, Barry and Erten Gazi than Cain last season? Most thought Cain, who was a late signee, was a project. Well, Cain silenced all doubters by being named to the All-Big East Freshmen Team. 

McCallum could be looking at a similar type breakout. 

So, while DePaul fans want Leitao to add more big men, we all may be selling the versatile McCallum a tad too short. 

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