With the NBA draft inching closer, our friends at CSNChicago.com are analyzing prospects leading up to the draft on June 27 in New York.
Thursday, they broke down 6-foot-2 Detroit point guard Ray McCallum:
Named a 2010 McDonald's High School All-American, McCallum was a highly recruited prep prospect who shunned major programs to play for his father at a mid-major school. An athletic point guard with the ability to both score and distribute the ball, playing at a lower-profile level didn't hurt his professional stock, as he remained on the radar of NBA teams throughout his college career. His continued improvement, outstanding performance in conference play, holding his own when faced with top-tier competition and team's success indicate that his talent will translate to the next level.
As a freshman, McCallum made an instant impact, notching several double-digit assist and rebound games and achieving his career-high of 31 points en route to winning the Horizon League's Newcomer of the Year award and receiving second-team all-league honors. During his sophomore season, the floor general took it up a notch from the outset, scoring 21 points in an early-season upset win over St. John's, then carried it over to conference play, leading Detroit to the league tournament crown as the tournament MVP and first-team all-league member, before the campaign ended in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the hands of eventual finalist Kansas. As a junior, McCallum had another stellar individual season, playing the likes of All-American Shane Larkin to a draw in a narrow loss to Miami, dropping 24 points in a win over Pittsburgh and taking home conference MVP honors while leading the Titans to an NIT appearance.
Being a coach's son, it's no surprise that McCallum is a heady decision-maker with the ball, despite also being his team's primary scoring option and having to shoulder the offensive load. McCallum has decent size for his position, is an underrated athlete and thrives in the transition game, where he can take advantage of his explosiveness in the open floor. He's also displayed the willingness to be an all-around contributor, as evidenced by solid rebounding numbers, which are more impressive considering the fact that Detroit had two other fringe NBA prospects in big man Nick Minnerath and swingman Doug Anderson, both impressive leapers.
McCallum is an inconsistent outside shooter, and while some of his low percentage behind the college three-point line can be attributed to the amount of defensive attention he received, it's definitely an area for improvement. While he wasn't a selfish player, the scoring point guard will need to flesh out his play-making abilities, as he's unlikely to have the same starring role on the next level. On the defensive end, he wasn't terrible in college, but with his focus on creating shots and producing points on offense, it's also an aspect of his game that could stand to get better in order to earn playing time professionally.
Draft projection: A solid second-round prospect, any team looking for a backup point guard to develop but one that already has a high level of understanding of the game would be wise to consider McCallum. Although his upside isn't infinite, he'll be ready to contribute as a rookie in a limited role and can grow into a larger one with work on his jumper and more experience operating in pick-and-roll scenarios. McCallum can be a nice long-term reserve in the right situation, particularly in an up-tempo system.