Blogs > Burney's Bites

Burney's Bites will focus primarily on the local preps sports scene, but will also touch on some college and pro athletics, mostly in regards to athletes who hail and have played high school sports in Oakland County. My goal for the blog is to be conversational and anecdotal, a more relaxed and free formal take on high school athletics than you see in regular game day coverage.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Will He or Won't He?

Will he or won't he? That is the question that four lucky college coaches are awaiting the answer to in regards to where Birmingham Detroit Country Day All-American senior point guard, Ray McCallum, Jr. will decide to play his college hoops and in turn, if they will end up landing his much-coveted services. Sean Miller at Arizona, Billy Donovan at Florida, Ben Howling at UCLA, and Ray's dad's, Ray McCallum, Sr. at the University of Detroit-Mercy, are the quad of coaches jockeying to sign DCD's dazzling floor general - 21 ppg, 6 apg, 6 rpg, 3.5 stls per game so far this season.
Alright, I've waited long enough, standing idly by holding my tongue, it's time for Burney to drop some knowledge and perspective and give you prep recruiting fiends my very own prediction on what school "Big Play Ray" will end up selecting and signing with in April.
From Burney has been told from his various sources, this recruiting derby is a two team-race. Thus, you can throw out Howling at UCLA and Donovan at Florida. The street is talking and the word is that McCallum has it narrowed down to either Wildcat U at Arizona and going to play for dear old dad at UofD-Mercy at legendary Calihan Hall.
Having personally spoken to Ray about AZ back in December, I could tell he was very high on young and spunky Wildcats head coach Sean Miller. The pair related well on his visit down to 'Zona late last year and McCallum has an obvious respect for Miller's experience-factor and his skills as a "pitchman". Miller point-guarded a very good Pitt team back in the late-90s-early-80s and had tremendous success with his stable of guards in his previous coaching life at mid-major powerhouse, Xavier in Cincinnati. He is also known as a magnetic recruiter who develops solid personal relationships with the kids he coaches.
Now that said, much to my surprise and contrary to what I had anticipated earlier in the recruiting process, U-of-D-Mercy is a real contender in this recruiting race, possibly even the front runner at this point in time. I've personally spoken to more than one prep prospect being courted by McCallum, Sr.'s up and coming Titans program and they have all told me the Mercy staff is telling them the younger McCallum is 99 percent committed to signing with his pops.
If that's the case, the push to get the program back to the heights it once achieved under Perry Watson last decade and current sports broadcast icon, Dick Vitale back in the mid to late-1970s is about to get a heck of a lot stronger.  Second if McCallum actually did end up at Mercy and took the Titans to the possible success scouts equate his talent with, he could easily wind up being a local college hoops legend, enshrined in the hallowed annals of Motor City bball history along other UofD greats like Dave De Busschere, John Long, Terry Tyler, Terry Duerod, Jermaine Jackson, and Rashad Phillips. McCallum, Jr. could bring a serious jolt of electricity back to Calihan Hall and with that, most-likely an exciting buzz surrounding the Titans program not felt around here in over a decade and in reality probably dating back as late as the Vitale era when Calihan was the hottest ticket in town.
To play devil's advocate, a decision like that – McCallum, Jr. selecting UofD – would be a huge risk. He would be putting it all on the line to go help out his dad turn Mercy into a winner and in turn probably get his pops a top tier D1 job. And if it fails, if he goes there and doesn't elevate the program to the heights expected, it could be a disaster of epic proportions. He could end up falling under what I call, "The Lavell Blanchard Quandary" or more aptly titled, "Great player-Bad Program Quandary." Mark my words, if Blanchard would have gone to MSU instead of UofM a decade ago, he would be making a living in the NBA right now. He might not be a star or a starter, but he'd be in the league crafting out a role as a poor man's Shane Battier-type. But he didn't. Blanchard went to Ann Arbor got stuck with a pair of horrendous head coaches inside a highly-dysfunctional program and wound up having a forgettable but very solid college career because of his surroundings and thus never got a real chance to get drafted.
So that's what I know as of right now. And with that, I'm going tell you what I think he's going to end up doing. Personally, I think he'll wind up inking with Miller and Arizona. I don't think Ray likes the Midwest and prefers a warm weather environment to play in evidenced by his three choices not coached by his dad. Plus, as confident Ray is as a ballplayer, I don't think he wants the extreme pressure and certain immense-anticipation and expectation that would accompany the commitment. Not that he couldn't handle it, because I think he could, but I just don't think he wants it. He just wants to play without having deal with distractions, which playing for his dad at UofD would be full of.
I don't foresee this being an easy decision, but I think it's what he will do and I think its ultimately what's best for his future career. Would I be surprised if he went the other way and decided to take on the Big Enchillada and sign with Mercy? Not at all. Either way, I wish Big Play Ray the best of luck on both his college decision and all his future endeavors.


Anonymous titanmike said...

Your argument is flawed. Of course Florida, Arizona, and UCLA are on his list, but then again so were Oklahoma and Kansas, not warm weather friendly climates either. And Detroit a bad program?

First your reference to Detroit as "Mercy" several times, shows what little you know about the program. Second, define bad program, bad as of last year and the year before, but overall a good mid-major that could become a great mid-major with the addition of Ray. FYI Detroit had Willie Green a starting guard in the NBA, not so bad I would say.

February 8, 2010 at 1:33 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Arizona's biggest problem beleive it or not, is Laval Perry who was Capt of one of Vitale's teams who's son is Laval Lucus-Perry. LP was treated poorly at Arizona during that who Olson/O'Neil thing, that went much deeper than playing time. Michigan kids talk and and the word about Arizona is "bad news". Ray JR. is king at Detroit Country Day, and if and when he goes to Detroit it will be the areas biggest story that won't stop for four years, at Arizona he'd be just another 4 star signer, with a 50/50 chance he'd transfere in 2 years. Also Midwest kids do better in Eastern and Central time zones. The weather is really not a issue, as you know they now have heat in all the gyms in Michigan.

February 8, 2010 at 1:57 PM 

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