Five Star PG Hearing From Duke

It's no secret that the Blue Devils are in the market for a top notch lead guard in the class of 2010. By now Duke fans are familiar with names such as Brandon Knight and Kyrie Irving. A third high major target, Detroit's Ray McCallum, is also one to watch. Over the weekend he sat down with TDD at the Gibbons' TOC event.

"There have been a lot of schools working on me," said Detroit Country Day standout Ray McCallum. "Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, LSU, Duke - all of them have been recruiting me for a while."

Several other schools such as Kansas, Louisville, Memphis, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, and UCLA have also thrown their hats in the ring with the five star prospect and No.3 rated point guard in the rising senior class of 2010. However, as with most top notch prospects, there's a good bit of time remaining before any decisions are made.

"Right now I am open to anyone and everyone. All schools are equal at this point."

Still, the recruiting process has begun with coaches coming in to watch open gyms, the phone calls, and the unofficial visits. As well as the opportunities to visit various schools that host the different AAU events. It is this last opportunity that brought McCallum to Durham, and Duke, for the first time this weekend.

"We had a chance to practice in Duke's new practice facility yesterday before we played. It's one of the nicest I've seen. Living in Detroit, I have been able to go up to the Pistons' gym a lot and I've been to a lot of other places, but this one is - by far - the nicest I've been in."

Facilities aside, the Duke coaching staff's early pitch to the talented guard is simply one of need. Accordingly, the Blue Devil coaching staff has already been on the road and head coach Mike Krzyzewski has begun to get involved.

"Coach K actually called on Tuesday and said they are going to be picking their efforts up with me moving forward. He told me to just enjoy myself down here at Cameron and the new facilities. He wished he could have been here to meet me, but he couldn't because of the dead period. Coach James came up earlier in the year to see me practice, and Coach Collins was up at an open gym a while back as well. They are wanting me to make a visit soon. I wouldn't be surprised if that happened."

In addition to the coaches working on the recruiting trail, some familiar faces from the AAU circuit have also been in the mix.

"I played with Mason Plumlee last year with the Indiana Elite, so I know him pretty well. I also know Elliot Williams really well and talked to him earlier in the year about Duke. Same with Miles Plumlee and Ryan Kelly. I've talked to all of them about Duke."

As for initial impressions of the Durham based program after talking to the players and coaches and after seeing Cameron?

"When you look at this place with all the banners around - it's just a winning program. Not every gym has three National Title banners hanging. Duke is a lot like my school - it's just about winning. And with Duke, they get the best players and they just win."

While the Blue Devils are going hard after McCallum and other lead guards, detractors will point out that Duke already has a commitment from a four star point guard in the class of 2010. However, much as they did in the early part of the decade, Duke is looking to have multiple ball handlers on the court at the same time.

"They've talked to me about coming in as a scoring point guard who can score or set guys up. I don't have a problem with playing with guys like Tyler Thornton - a lot of schools do the two point guard thing these days. It's been a goal of mine to play for a big time program, and this is part of it."

Jumping to any of the programs currently pursuing him will be a step up in program prestige. However, his high school program is no stranger to producing top level collegiate and professional talent.

"I am trying to get to the level that Shane Battier and Chris Webber did coming out of my school. It's a great program in all areas and I couldn't ask for a better situation - academically or basketball wise. It's a historic place, and I really love it there. Just a great school and great environment."

When asked about his focus on the court, McCallum says he believes his role is mult-faceted.

"As a point guard you always have to be talking. I'm a point guard first and a scorer second. It's my job to get guys involved and that's something I try to do. Right now my focuses [on improving] are to get my shot down and on the defensive end. I work hard on defense - getting through screens, and making it difficult for the man I'm guarding."

Interview conducted by Steve Clark, TDD Staff


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