In a four-day tour to cities like Milan and Marion, 6-2 point guard Earl Calloway is getting a chance to show why he caught the eye of the Hoosier coaching staff.
The quick footed product from Georgia Perimeter College in Atlanta scored 26 points as the team of recruits took on the "Milan All-Stars" in an exhibition game in Milan, Ind, Aug. 22, and then came back with a 27-point effort last night in a one-point loss in Indianapolis. While he pitched in his share of offense, it was his defense and drives to the basket that stood out to the crowd.
"This is a great experience to play in front of these fans and meet the people who support you," said Calloway. "I've been up here before to see A.J. Moye play and I saw how the atmosphere was around Indiana basketball. It's a great tradition to be a part of.
Calloway had a chance to play with Moye Tuesday night, as the former Hoosier suited up with the Indiana All-Stars in the game at Ben Davis H.S. Despite the one-point, 123-122 setback, the crowd was a supportive one, which came as no surprise to Calloway.
"(Moye) said the fans are good - they will back you up one hundred percent if you go out there and play hard and do your best," said Calloway.
"These games help you get back into playing shape, build chemistry with your teammates and they're for the fans to see us play. I was loving it out there playing in front of this crowd. I really enjoyed it. I got really excited in there because it's good to have your fans backing you up. I love that."
On the opening night in Milan, Calloway was joined on the IU recruit team by signees Ben Allen, Joey Shaw, Indiana commit Deonta Vaughn and Mike Davis, Jr., son of Indiana head coach Mike Davis who is currently playing basketball at Black Hawk College in western Illinois. On Tuesday, Moye joined the quintet of players at Ben Davis.
"It feels good to be out here," said Calloway. "I'm pretty excited to meet the guys and get going. We haven't had the chance to sit down and talk, but once I get a chance to I'd like to get to know all the guys on the team as soon as I can."
While Indiana does have senior Marshall Strickland and Auburn transfer Lewis Monroe on the roster, Calloway feels he can contribute to the Hoosiers for the two years of eligibility he has remaining.
"I'm going to bring leadership to this team and try to keep everyone on the same page," said Calloway. "I'm going to fill my role to make sure we can be a good team and make it to the tournament again. I'm just trying to uphold the tradition and help this team get back to the NCAA Tournament."
Calloway has spent two years on the junior college level and was spotted by Indiana assistant Donnie Marsh while Marsh was the head coach of Florida International. In the 2004-05 season Calloway averaged 18.0 points and 4.8 assists per game for Georgia Perimeter, but has focused on his defense as of late.
"I'm always working to improve my defense," said Calloway. "I would like to get my anticipation up a little more and get my step up a little quicker."
Calloway has one goal for the 2005-06 season at Indiana.
"I'm just coming in to help the team the best I can," said Calloway. "I'm going to listen to the coaches, take my role that they give me and come in to help the team win. I watched the games last season and it was tough to watch them loss and go to the NIT. Hopefully we can turn that around and get back to the NCAA Tournament."
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