Friday, August 24, 2012

Scouting Report: Ray McCallum

Height: 6'2''
Weight: 190lbs
Wingspan: 6'3''
BDay: 6/12/91

Team: Detroit
Class of 2014

After being named a McDonald's All-American, Ray McCallum decided to go the mid-major route in order to play for his father, who bears his same name. Playing at a smaller school has failed to give McCallum the kind of exposure to generate tons of hype, but make no mistake about it, McCallum has done a great job in his time for the Detroit Titans. He is coming off a first team All-Conference season where he finished strong to earn conference tournament MVP while leading his team to the NCAA tournament. This year, he should be the favorite to take home Horizon League Player of the Year honors.

While only completing two years so far, McCallum appears to have already mastered the college game. No he isn't dominating, but he generally has complete control of the game and handles his job of point guard in a professional matter. He is a vocal leader for the Titans as well as leading by example, exuding tremendous effort on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court.

Offensively, McCallum has a good feel for the game and executes a lot of his offense out of the pick and roll. The majority of his team's possessions are ran out of this set which is good practice for a point guard who is looking to make the jump to the NBA. In pick and rolls, McCallum is very effective driving to the hoop - to either side - and shows off a nice crossover and steady ball handling skills. While not a terrific athlete, McCallum is quick and able to break down defenders and is surprisingly strong around the rim. He does a good job of changing speeds, splitting defenders, and has a sneaky quick burst. Once he gets going, he can weave through the lane. His craftiness between the 3-pt arc and the lane isn't amongst the elite, but it is a good compliment to his first step and finishing ability. He is an explosive leaper with a good frame to handle contact. While he has a short wingspan (6'3''), he does a great job of finishing plays in a number of different ways. In this matter, his game is very advanced. He shows off the Euro step, pump fakes, up and unders, scoop name it, McCallum has incorporated it into his game. He has the looks of a guy who will be able to score in the lane in the NBA, despite his short limbs.

One thing that is admirable about McCallum is that he doesn't get a lot of easy baskets. He earns his baskets in the halfcourt setting by getting to the hoop. He doesn't score much of threes and from the games I saw, his team didn't run as much as the year before (I could be wrong about that, but regardless, McCallum is one of the better halfcourt point guards Ive evaluated).

As a point guard, McCallum has the leadership ability down pact. He is also unselfish, although he does have to do more creating at the mid-major level. At the Adidas Nations though, he reportedly played very unselfishly which is no surprise. His dad was a big time scorer, but his son has more qualities of a son of a coach rather than a son of an elite scorer. When McCallum has the ball in his hands, there is a sense of calm. He is a good ball handler and runs the team like its his own. He takes good care of the ball, and did an even better job of that in his sophomore year despite increased work load. He also shown noticeable improvement in other areas of his game such as shooting and halfcourt offense which is a good sign of a strong work ethic.

As a passer, McCallum has a high basketball IQ and understanding of the game, but has some work to do. He isn't a special creator at this point, but there is no question that he is a point guard. At this level, McCallum's passing may suffer due to the fact that his teammates can't handle some of his bullet passes. Its up to a point guard to put his teammates in positions where they know they can make a play though, but I do expect McCallum to look like a better passer at the next level.

McCallum is a streaky shooter who uses too much wrist action on his jumper. He made the same amount of threes per game as his freshman year, but shot more than one more per game, bringing his 3-pt average down to 24% his sophomore season. His game doesn't revolve around his shot at all though, and     I believe he can get away with just being an average shooter. The good news is his free throw percentage went up to 76%, which is important considering his game is based on penetration. He shows flashes of a mid-range jumper and can make some unorthodox shots as well, which is a good sign. Once inside the 3-pt lines, McCallum is a gamer who has a good understanding of finding a way to get a quality shot off.

Defensively, McCallum is terrific at the college level. He plays with great intensity, pressures the ball, and makes sure everyone else is playing up to par as well. He shows solid awareness and does a good job on the glass. His length is below average, but he has good lateral quickness and gets a decent amount of steals for a player who stays at home on defense. He is also able to be physical and definitely knows the importance of defense. His dad has to be proud of the way his son plays. He is well-coached.

McCallum's physical profile has drawn some concerns, mainly to his already mentioned 6'3'' wingspan. Looking at DraftExpress's measurement history tool, guys who have similar measurements (height, weight, wingspan) to McCallum are players like Will Conroy, Jordan Taylor, Scott Machado, and Jeremy Lin. With McCallum's good lateral quickness, leaping ability, and good frame I don't think this will be a huge factor. He definitely would be a better prospect with a 6'9'' wingspan, but its not a deal breaker. He has better physical attributes than all the players listed above and also still has room to grow strength wise which I think he will. Ultimately, I think McCallum can be one of the more physically tough point guards in the NBA.

Anyway, there are successful point guards who had similar measurements but lacked a solid frame (McCallum weighed in at 190lb this summer at the Deron Williams camp, up 3 pounds from last year). Jordan Farmar, Darren Collison, Luke Ridnour, and Jameer Nelson all boast less then attractive physical specs.

In terms of draft stock, McCallum falls into a group of 4-5 point guards who could go anywhere from mid-first to the second round. I think he looks like a solid first rounder right now and should end of declaring. He doesn't have much more to gain from college as he already plays with the maturity of a senior and a new voice other than his father could further progress his game. Its been a special time for father and son at Detroit, but McCallum is ready to be pushed into a more uncomfortable atmosphere and take on his next challenge.

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