After struggling to secure reliable point guard depth throughout the 2015-16 season, the acquisition of the 6-foot-3, 25-year-old McCallum now runs the Pistons’ backcourt depth chart at least three-deep, with starter Reggie Jackson in line to be spelled by recent signee Ish Smith while presumably leaving McCallum and Lorenzo Brown to battle for the third string spot in training camp.
McCallum’s signing will serve as a homecoming of sorts. While he was born in Madison, Wisconsin, McCallum later moved to Michigan, where he parlayed two stellar seasons of high school basketball at Detroit Country Day into an appearance in the 2010 McDonald’s All-American Game. Passing on such big time programs as UCLA, Arizona, and Florida, McCallum agreed to sign with the University of Detroit Mercy whose head coach, Ray McCallum Sr., also happened to double as McCallum’s father.
Following three seasons of high-level basketball at UDM that included an NCAA Tournament berth as a sophomore and Horizon League Player of the Year honors as a junior, McCallum declared for the NBA Draft in 2013, heading to the Sacramento Kings with the 36th overall pick.
McCallum’s high water mark to this point of his NBA career came during the 2014-15 season when he started 30 games for the Kings and averaged 7.4 points and 2.8 assists. However, after being dealt to the San Antonio Spurs last summer, McCallum saw his on-court role dramatically reduced while attempting to find a a place to fit behind Tony Parker and Patty Mills.
McCallum’s arrival in Detroit doesn’t come at a complete surprise, as his acquisition was briefly rumored as a possibility midway through the 2015-16 season. In addition to the Pistons’ need for point guard depth, head coach Stan Van Gundy remains friends with Ray McCallum Sr. after the two spent time together as assistant coaches under Stu Jackson at the University of Wisconsin in the mid-90’s.