Sports Out West

A closer look at Sacramento Kings draft pick Ray McCallum

Minnesota Timberwolves v Sacramento Kings

Sacramento, Calif. — Don’t let his friendly exterior fool you. Ray McCallum is a ruthless driver on the hardwood.

The Sacramento Kings drafted McCallum in the second round (36th overall) this summer after showing a killer instinct in three seasons at the University of Detroit Mercy. With the help of his father, who was also head coach, the Michigan man became the 2013 Horizon League Player of the Year.

McCallum is an intriguing NBA prospect because of his size (6-foot-3) and ability to attack the basket. The point guard is a reliable dribbler and transition sparkplug, but he acknowledges his game is far from a finished product.

“As a point guard in the NBA, there’s a lot of areas you have to be good at,” explained McCallum at practice on Wednesday. “I need to be able to make shots when I’m open, find the right reads in the pick-and-roll, and be solid on the defensive end.”

When he’s not fine-tuning his jump shot and hitting the weight room, McCallum is catching up on having fun away from the court. Since joining the Kings in July, the 22-year-old has forged a bond with another promising rookie.

“Ben (McLemore) and I are actually real close. Here in Sacramento we found things to entertain ourselves. Sky Zone, K1 indoor race track, bowling. Playing video games. Just relaxing…and for the most part hanging out with friends and family.”

As far as video games go, McCallum is familiar with the recently released NBA 2K14. Unfortunately, the newcomer can’t play as himself because the developers decided to designate the digital pro inactive.

“I guess I (have to) do something on the court first and maybe they can update it. Until then, I guess I’m (going to) be right there. But hopefully when my time comes, I can get on that roster and be good to go.”

Along with getting recognition in the virtual world, McCallum motivates himself by listening to music. He doesn’t bump love jams, as Good Day Sacramento’s Ken Rudolph noted Greivis Vasquez appreciates.

“I like any hip-hop, a little bit of rap before the game. I got a lot of different artists I like to listen to. You can put some rap on in the locker room, (or) put in my headphones before the game, I’m good to go.”

McCallum is in a minutes-crunch with Vasquez, Isaiah Thomas and Jimmer Fredette. But by continuing to hone his skills behind the scenes, the point will make a case to take center stage.

Photo Credit: Garrett Ellwood / Getty Images

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Rui Thomas

Rui Thomas is an NFL and NBA aficionado whose credits include Yahoo! Sports, FanNation, GoldenGateSports and Radiosurvivor.com. He also owns the Theruination.net. Rui grew up an obsessive fan of the Sacramento Kings and Oakland Raiders, but he sympathizes with every West Coast team.

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