April 14, 2010

McCallum Jr., Zeigler become stay-at-home sons

SOUTHFIELD - Until today, two coaches' sons had their dads sweating on their college decisions. For the next four years, the coaches will get to return the favor to their boys.

Both Ray McCallum Jr. and Trey Zeigler announced they'll play for their father's program, Ray McCallum, Sr. at University of Detroit, and Ernie Zeigler at Central Michigan, respectively.

They held consecutive press conferences today to announce what were two of the most highly-anticipated decisions of the unsigned seniors in the Class of 2010.

Zeigler said that the four-year extension from the Chippewas earlier this week played a major factor in his decision to stay in Mount Pleasant, where he played his high school career.

"Definitely [played a role]," Zeigler said. "That was the biggest thing; if that didn't happen, there was no way I was going to be here. After that happened, it kind of made the decision a little bit easier."

The elder McCallum talked about the difficulty of the decision in playing both the role of coach and father.

"For me to be a dad, it was tough," Ray Sr. said. "And I had to be a dad, because he's worked hard for those opportunities that go along with the process. As he said, we've waited until the end, it was time, and we were able to sit down and talk about our opportunities at the University of Detroit Mercy."

McCallum becomes the first McDonald's All-American to commit as a senior to a Horizon League school. Both players said that Butler's run to the Final Four played a factor in their decisions.

"That just shows that it doesn't matter what level you're at," Ray Jr. said. "If you're just good and you have good players and a good team, it doesn't matter where you're at. It's just about the amount of hard work you put into it, and you can accomplish anything."

Clearly the expectations for a father-son tandem such as this has its talk and expectations, something not lost upon Ray Sr.

"From growing up, he doesn't believe this, but I was a pretty good player myself back in the day," Ray Sr. said. "I was always doubted, I was always questioned. That's kind of been my life, and I think he can say the same thing; even though he's always been a highly-ranked player, he hasn't been considered the best."

The decisions seemed to align, as both players traveled to the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic as more than just teammates over the past weekend.

Zeigler said, "We were roommates, so there was a lot of discussion a lot of the time. At the end of the day, we sat down and said, 'We could do something great with our fathers'."

"It was a lot of fun, we won the two-on-two tournament down there, and he almost won the dunk contest again. He played great and won MVP, and I played alright. We had a lot of fun down there."

While the two discussed it, Ray said that the two had decided their own choices would be a surprise to each other when the final reveal was made.

"After Sunday when we talked about it, we said we'd let each other know when the time came. We really didn't know until right before; I talked to him at about 3 o' clock."


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