Kings Blog

Kings Q&A: Ray McCallum

By: Jason Wise
Rookie Ray McCallum dishes on his transition to the NBA, experience in the D-League and facing the game’s best.

How would you characterize the first half of your rookie season?

“It’s been a great experience so far. It’s really been a learning process. I’m watching and learning every day from great veteran players and great coaches. I’m trying to make the most of it.”

How would you describe playing against some of the League’s best, such as Tony Parker?

“It’s what you want as a player, especially being a young guy – the opportunity to go and play against the best. I found out I was going to play (in San Antonio) and I was getting to play against one of the best point guards in the NBA. I’m a player who always likes a challenge, so I took it on and did my best to defend him.”

What do you think has recently earned you more playing time?

“For me, being young, this is a learning process. It’s how to wait, and just keep waiting and I’m starting to get a few more opportunities now and just trying to take advantage of them. I work hard each and every day. Whenever I get an opportunity to get in the game, I try to bring energy and try to help run the team.”

How would you describe the experience of playing with both the Bighorns and Kings this season?

“It gave me the opportunity to play. Their goal and main reason for sending me to Reno was to get some game time. I take advantage of those opportunities and I embrace it. I think it’s made me a better player.”

How have you noticed the Kings-Bighorns affiliation enhancing your experience in Reno?

“It’s the big asset the Reno Bighorns have, they run our system. When I go in I have the opportunity to play with the guys a couple of times, so I feel comfortable to go in and run the same sets and defensive concepts.”

How would you characterize your adjustment to living in Sacramento?

“It’s fun! I have a townhome, which is nice, and it’s close to the arena. I like Sacramento. Coming from Michigan, where it’s usually 20 degrees, it’s nice having sunny weather every day. It’s definitely fun for a kid coming from the Midwest to be able to wear shorts in the winter. It’s been a great overall experience so far.”

How much have you enjoyed having your sister with you as you adjust to life in Northern California?

“You move halfway across the country and are going to be on your own, it’s always good to have someone with you, and nothing better than having a family member with you. She’s been here helping me get adjusted ever since (I moved here after the Draft). So it’s been great having her here and having her help me, and getting to see me play.”

How would you characterize your friendship with Ben McLemore?

“We’ve become best friends … not ever thinking we would be friends like this after meeting at the Combine. Our relationship has grown and hopefully we can be here for a long time. Hopefully our close friendship off the court will correlate on the court and, once we get the opportunity to play together, it will help us a lot.”

Have you picked up any tricks of the trade from your teammates?

“Definitely. When you’re (on a team) with an experienced, veteran guard, there are some things they might do that guys in college weren’t doing or things you’ve never seen before in your life. But those are some of the things I’ve picked up. Little things on defense, just ways to keep the defender guessing when you have the ball in your hands, but I’ve definitely got some new tricks I can use.”

Does your dad ever call you after games and assess your performance?

“My father and I talk every day. It’s something we’ve always done, especially when I was in college. I played for him for three years, so I saw him every single day. Now it’s just been our thing, we talk all the time – a lot of times after practice, and definitely after games, especially if I play. He’s watching every game and every move so he always knows what I’m doing, but it’s tough to have a father who knows you really well and who was my coach to help me out with things. He’s positive and I know I have him on my side.”

What’s your outlook for the second half of the season?

“Go out there and compete, try to get as many wins as we can. To build (on) my rookie year, and I just want to keep improving each and every day. Every opportunity I have I’m going to try to go out there and make the best of it, and leave a good impression here in Sacramento, and try to get this organization moving in the right direction.”