Ray McCallum took on a heavy role during his junior season at Detroit. He averaged 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists and has been making a name for himself since declaring for the NBA draft. Having already worked out for the Spurs, Rockets, and Pacers (savvy front offices) - it was time for the Nuggets to see what this combo guard had in store.
"I saw [CJ Harris] play quite a bit in college, I saw Mark Lyons play quite a bit in college, as well as Ray [McCallum]." said Nuggets scout Mike Bratz.
Taking a closer look is always a good idea. From what we, the media, were able to see - the Nuggets had McCallum showcase his outside shooting with some three-pointer drills and assistant coach was working with McCallum and Lyons on a cross-over spin move ... something you've seen Tony Parker do hundreds of times for the San Antonio Spurs.
McCallum is projected to be drafted in the second round - currently 47th to the Atlanta Hawks, according to Draft Express. From Draft Express:
His perimeter shooting improvements are particularly encouraging, after shooting a very poor 24% from 3-point range as a sophomore. He connected on 33% of his 3's this season on over four attempts per game, and this is an area he'll likely need to continue to improve in order to find a role in the NBA, as he still only made 29% of his overall jump-shots on the season.
McCallum has excellent ball-handling skills, plays the game at a nice pace and shows great poise. Doubling as his team's primary ball-handler and top scoring option, he generally does a very good job taking care of the ball and making good decisions, as evidenced by the fact that he turns the ball over on only 12% of his used possessions this season, second among all point guards in our top 100 rankings.
McCallum's inconsistent outside shooting, lack of elite physical tools and playmaking ability likely limits his upside as an NBA prospect, but his overall skill level and high basketball IQ at the point guard position should give him a strong chance to get drafted...
Nate Timmons: Did you grow up in Beverly Hills, Michigan?
Ray McCallum: That's where I've been the last five years; I've moved seven times. I was born in Wisconsin, lived in Ann Arbor, Michigan for a little bit, lived in Munson, Indiana, lived in Houston, Texas, Norman, Oklahoma, Bloomington, Indiana, and been in Detroit for the last five years. My dad's a coach, so I've been all over with him.
NT: And you played for your dad at Detroit?
RM: Yep, I played for my dad for three years at Detroit.
NT: Another guy from Michigan (Benton Harbor) is Wilson Chandler, with the Nuggets, do you know him or any other guys on this Nuggets team?
RM: I don't know him at all. The only guy on the team I know is Quincy Miller - just from being in high school, he's a year younger than me - being at all the [basketball] camps.
NT: You've worked out for the Spurs, the Rockets, and the Pacers. Which place has the best practice facility thus far?
RM: Honestly, I really like [Denver's]. The locker room here, it's probably the nicest locker room I've ever seen. The weight room and the gym, I like how it's all right here. The setup is really nice. Everyone had a really nice facility and gym - I mean it's the NBA. Everything is top level, I can't really complain.
NT: You were studying Communications at Detroit? What were you planning on doing with that?
RM: After I'm done playing basketball I want to get into sports broadcasting. It's always something I've had an interest in - covering games, I've got a strong knowledge and IQ of the game and I think that's something I could be good at.
NT: You're stranded on a desert island - who would you choose to be stranded with: Shaquille O'Neal or Charles Barkley?
RM: I might have to say Shaquille O'Neal just because - I don't know, both of them are very entertaining - Shaq is so big he'd probably get so many more things done than Charles. Charles might be a little bit more lazier than Shaq.
NT: Who were some of your favorite players growing up?
RM: I've always liked Chris Paul and Deron Williams. Lately I really like Russell Westbrook. Those three guys, I like all the things they have in their game and I try to take bits and pieces of their game and add it to mine.
NT: You're on the brink of making the NBA, once you're established would you rather have a shoe deal, your own videogame, or your own restaurant?
RM: Oh man, I'd probably say a shoe deal. I like videogames and I love food, but I love shoes. You can't go wrong with the shoe deal.
NT: If you had to guesstimate, how many pairs of shoes do you own?
RM: Way over 100, maybe 150 pairs of shoes. (laughs)
NT: Let's say we're on MTV Cribs, what's in your refrigerator?
RM: You're obviously going to find Avion water, every type of Gatorade and Powerade, you're going to find some bacon, some strawberries, some milk, some orange juice, and my mom makes this famous soup - I call it the Wendy Mac Soup - you'll always find that in there too.
NT: How about a cheat day, what would we find you pigging out on?
RM: You're going to catch me with the red bag of Doritos and some pretzels.
NT: Nacho cheese?
RM: You already know!
NT: On an off night, what could we find you doing?
RM: Normally just sitting at home relaxing. Either hanging out with friends, watching the game, watching TV, or playing PS3.
NT: Let's say during your NBA career that Hollywood comes calling. What kind of movie would you want to star in - a comedy, action, horror, or Sci-Fi?
RM: I'd probably do an action movie. I'm big into action movies, I like that. Hopefully one day I can get out there and act a little bit and do a little something that Denzel [Washington] could do.
NT: Would you want to do your own stunts?
RM: It depends. I mean if there's heights involved, probably not. It just depends on the stunts, but I'd probably have stunt men.
NT: Where do you plan on watching the NBA draft and who do you plan on watching it with?
RM: To be honest, I don't know where I'm going to watch it at. I've just been doing so much traveling getting prepared for it, I'm just hoping to hear my name called. I'm definitely going to have my family with me - my mom, my dad, and my sister.
McCallum was yet another excellent young man to chat with. You can hear his passion for the game when he speaks and he definitely has a lighter side too.
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