Articles

Ray McCallum

PG Detroit 6'1" 175 lbs 6/12/91

 

 

 

Offense: McCallum is a ball-control point, and it is easy to tell he is a coach’s son. He controls the tempo for Detroit, and rarely gets himself out of control. He is a tremendous ball-handler, constantly probing the defense off the dribble.

McCallum is comfortable attacking the paint with both hands, and always has his head up, allowing him to identify passing lanes as they develop. He gets good shots for his teammates, and understands spacing and angles very well, allowing him to consistently create for others.

He in comfortable in both half court and fast break situations, and despite being more of a playmaker in the open floor during his college career it’s expected his strength to be in the half court at the next level.

This is reflected in his team-leading 4.5 assists per game, and McCallum’s poise with the ball in his hands is a major factor in his good assist-to-turnover ratio (2.25:1), a big reason why the Titans were 20th this year nationally in that category.

While McCallum often penetrates to pass—and will be doing even more of this at the next level—he is also comfortable finishing with either hand in the paint. He lacks top-level athleticism or explosiveness, but changes pace well, allowing him to keep potentially bigger and stronger defenders off-balance.

Once he gets to the rim, McCallum finishes well with contact, but struggles when forced to elevate over bigger defenders. He has a physical nature and draws contact well, but shoots a disappointing 70% from the line. He sometimes seems to lose focus from the stripe, and many attempts come out of his hands flat.

While he has rarely been off-ball during his college career, McCallum cuts well and has excellent timing, even if his mediocre physical traits sometimes make it difficult for him to get to where he wants to go on the court.

Predictably, McCallum’s role as a shot-taker has increased in each of his first 3 years at Detroit, and his efficiency has improved as well; he shot almost 50% from the field this season, up from 46% last year.

His jumper is solid, not spectacular, and as of now he projects to have limited range moving forward. He improved his 3-point percentage from 24% last season to 33% this year while attempting 4 per game, a good sign but still nowhere near consistent. He needs to develop more trust in his jumper, as he sometimes passes up open looks from more contested ones closer to the hoop.

McCallum’s mid-range game is effective, and his jumper becomes much more consistent in the 16-18 foot range. He finishes from a variety of angles, but rarely forces shots.

Moving forward, McCallum will have a difficult time penetrating unless he significantly increases his range, as defenses will dare him to shoot over the top and he lacks the quickness or athleticism to get by defenders who sag off.

He is good in the pick-n-roll game, making quick decisions and finding cutters with a variety of passes. He is more comfortable making plays with his right hand in these situations, but he goes left well enough normally that it’s not too big of a worry.

Moving forward, he could potentially fill a niche as a facilitating backup point at the next level, who can assume some scoring load for someone’s 2nd unit when called upon—19 points per game is impressive even if it mostly came against Horizon league competition

 

Strengths:

-       Tempo-controlling point guard; makes plays for others

-       Good understanding of situations; asserts himself when necessary

-       Effective as a slasher; Finishes well will both hands

 

Weaknesses:

-       Competition level?

-       Lacks top-level size, strength, athleticism

-       Must expand range on jumper to keep defenses honest

 

Defense: McCallum’s lack of size or strength will make it difficult for him to guard many of the quicker points at the next level, but he does have decent length for a guy who is only 6’3.

His upper body is not that big, but McCallum’s long arms make him more effective at disrupting passing lanes than one would expect by looking at him. He excellent vision on the offensive end also contributes, as McCallum can often

His lateral quickness is good, but he often struggles when involved in on-ball screens, especially in the middle of the court when his opponent has room to penetrate in either direction.

Partly for this reason, teams often look to tire McCallum out on the defensive end by running him through countless screens. He shows a will to defend, however, and rarely seems to get discouraged even when absorbing contact from bigger opponents.

When defending the ball on the perimeter, McCallum’s above-average lateral quickness and high basketball IQ allow him to keep his man in front of him. Unfortunately, the competition level will increase significantly as McCallum’s career continues, and he will not be able to get away with mistakes based off smarts and length like he sometimes does in college.

McCallum’s length allows his to be an especially effective rebounder for his position; he is always aware of his box-out assignments and is not afraid to put a body into bigger opponents. He has strong hands and anticipates the ball well coming off the rim. He also turns his hips well to keep opponents on his back when boxing out.

McCallum shows consistent poise on defense, working hard and rarely if ever letting offensive struggles affect his defense. This is especially impressive for a guy whose strengths are mostly on the offensive end

 

Strengths:

-       Decent length combined with vision allows him to disrupt passing lanes (almost 2 SPG this year)

-       Rebounds his position

-       Good awareness

 

Weaknesses:

-       Lacks speed or size to guard most perimeter guys at the next level; defensive liability

-       Struggles when involved in ball screens

 

Overall: A top-level recruit coming out of high school, McCallum chose to play for his father at Detroit rather than pursue opportunities at bigger, more competitive schools. While this has certainly given him an opportunity to showcase a variety of skills, it will also create some issues.

McCallum will need to prove he is not too much of a defensive liability on the court, especially against bigger, stronger guards. He will also need to show that his offensive skill set can translate to the next level; improving the range on his jump shot will be crucial.