As a St. James player, Tre’Darius McCallum never envisioned basketball as a big part of his future.
A lot has changed in the three years since his high school career ended.
On Saturday, McCallum committed to play college basketball for coach Dave Leitao and the DePaul Blue Demons during an official visit to the school’s Chicago campus.
“I didn’t think I was that good in high school, but people kept telling me I could [play collegiately],” McCallum said shortly after telling Leitao of his decision to play for DePaul. “… But just playing hard really got me to where I am at. … I didn’t even have a glimpse of this out of high school.”
Now the 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward will play in the Big East Conference, which includes national champion Villanova. McCallum will have two years of eligibility remaining and is eligible to play for the Blue Demons this fall.
“It was just a long journey for me of course, just going through my past,” McCallum said. “The (DePaul) coaching staff was great. They have been talking to me for a while and came out to visit. … It is overwhelming. I think I can play at any level of basketball in the country now.”
That journey began at Myrtle Beach High School, where he was cut as a sophomore and then transferred to St. James before his junior season. With the Sharks, McCallum averaged 11.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game during his senior season of 2012-13 before he was dismissed from the team for an undisclosed violation of team rules.
That led him to the South Carolina Sports Academy for a year and then to Sheridan (Wyo.) College, where he played the spring and fall semesters of 2014. He played this past season at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa, and averaged 11.6 points and 6.3 rebounds as the Warriors went 29-5.
McCallum said his father, Troy, and half-sister, Khadijah Sessions, helped him commit to basketball.
“Those two helped me get serious about basketball after what happened in high school – just to keep going and to keep pushing,” McCallum said. “(Sessions) playing, watching her success, and her being my older sister kind of motivated me to work harder.”
Indian Hills coach Hank Plona said he always felt McCallum was a Division I player, but the Myrtle Beach native’s hard work pushed him to a high-major level prospect.
“Tre is a really versatile player who can play multiple positions,” Plona said. “He plays hard, can shoot the three, has a lot of athleticism, and just does a lot of different things. He can help (DePaul) with whatever they need and can do whatever is necessary to help them succeed.”
Plona said Central Florida, Rutgers, Texas, Iowa St., and UNLV had all inquired about McCallum in the past two weeks as coaches looked to fill out their recruiting classes. McCallum said he was also considering Bradley University before his commitment to the Blue Demons.
“I fit well in (the DePaul) program,” McCallum said. “They just showed me the most love. They made me feel like I was at home. Coach Leitao is just a good man, and he made a difference to me.”
Shane Bowen: (843) 655-7918