Change and moves come with the territory when you are the son of a college basketball coach. It's an ever changing situation and something that Ray McCallum learned to not only live with, but thrive in long ago. With his father Ray Sr. now the head coach at Detroit University, the 6-foot-1 point guard is once again settling into a new environment during his junior season at Beverly Hills (MI) Detroit Country Day.
The way McCallum looks at it, the constant change and having a father who is a college coach are both big advantages when going through the recruitment process himself.
"I've had a big advantage," said McCallum. "In total I've moved about seven times. With my dad being a coach I've gotten to see how the whole recruiting process works and see how to tell that people are serious about recruiting a player. He's kept me on track and taught me about the whole process."
Arriving in the Detroit area late last summer, McCallum wasted little time in getting familiar with his teammates.
"It's been real good," said McCallum of the move. "The team, everything is good. I came down in July or August and was just trying to play in open gyms with the guys. In the fall we had open gyms and were able to get close."
So far, the work that McCallum and his teammates put into developing a bond has worked. Country Day is 19-1 and headed to the first round of what they hope is an eight game run through the state playoffs starting next Tuesday. To say that he's done his fair share on a team loaded with D1 talent is an understatement.
"I'm a guard who passes," says McCallum when asked what he does best. "I'm averaging like 17 points, six assists and five rebounds. But, I think my overall game is that I'm a slasher. I break my man down off the dribble, get into the lane and make passes. I can also knock down an open three or hit the pull up jumper."
A noted gym rat and student of the game, McCallum is far from satisfied with where he's at as a player.
"I just want to get my jump shot down to the point where it's automatic," McCallum answers when asked what part of his game needs the most work. "I'll be working on that a lot this spring and summer. I want to be one of the best shooters in my class and in the country."
Not so surprisingly, some of college basketball's heaviest hitters have come calling on the speedy floor general.
During his sophomore season, it didn't even appear that McCallum would be recruited much at all. His father was an assistant on Kelvin Sampson's staff at Indiana and everybody assumed he'd be headed to play for his father. Then, the Sampson reign came to a controversial end, his father ended up in Detroit and McCallum found himself the target of many programs.
One of the programs jumping into the mix immediately was Kansas. As it turns out, McCallum had initial interest in the Jayhawks that was instantly reciprocated.
"When everything happened at Indiana, people started asking me who I liked and I just kind of mentioned them with some others."
The Jayhawks had also gotten an early look at him while recruiting his summer teammate and Bill Self wasted little time in letting McCallum know that there was a scholarship available to him.
"He had just told me that he had always followed me," said McCallum of Self's pitch. "The first day that coaches could make calls to me they let me know that they wanted to recruit me. They talked to my dad and everything and wanted to make sure I knew that they liked me."
Last July, McCallum even went so far as to label Kansas as his early leader. A bit wiser in dealing with the media and more cautious in his approach, he has dialed things back a little bit.
"I still like them a lot," McCallum said of the Jayhawks. "But, right now, I'm open to everybody and things are pretty even."
Intelligent and poised, the budding star is also quite sure of what he's looking for in a college program. Playing time will be very important to him even if he knows that a coach can't really promise him anything.
"I want to start and play a lot as a freshman, that's my whole goal," said McCallum of what he's looking for in a program. "But, a coach really can't tell a player that they are going to start or play a lot unless there's no question that you are going to be one of the best players there."
With the playoffs less than a week away, McCallum is putting aside his recruitment for the moment. He plans to take his time and will meet with his parents after the summer to discuss which schools he should take official visits to. More than anything, though, he'll be looking for a stable situation.
Change has been good to him up to his point, but in college McCallum wants to know as much about the situation he's getting into as possible and he's looking for stability.
"You never know," said McCallum. "The coach could have a great year and want to leave. You can commit and they might leave and then you can't get out of the letter of intent. Or, different players might stay or leave and things can change."