Success at prep school paves way for Calloway to sign with SUU

May 30, 2016

Jacob Calloway basketball

Jacob Calloway

Even though he’s tall enough to play center, 6-foot-8 Jacob Calloway of Juneau sometimes plays more like a guard.

He likes to have the ball in his hands and get others involved. That combination made him an attractive attribute for college coaches.

“A lot of schools liked how I pass and handle the ball at my height,” Calloway told me.

Calloway graduated from Thunder Mountain in 2015 and spent this past season playing at On Point Hoops Academy in Oklahoma, where he averaged 26 points and 12 rebounds. He pumped in a career-high 47 points in one game.

He received interest from several NCAA D1 college programs such as Wichita State, Washington State, Southern Illinois, North Texas and Northern Colorado. But he signed with Southern Utah University out of the Big Sky Conference.

Calloway will be the first athlete in Thunder Mountan’s 8-year history to play sports at the NCAA D1 level, a badge of honor for most Alaska high school kids.

Southern Utah wants to use him at small forward, where he will be asked to handle the ball against smaller, quicker guards and slower, bigger forwards; often on the same possession.

“They want me to grab the rebound and run the break and play on the wing,” he said.

The team also just graduated two players at his position.

“Jacob is a tremendous fit for Southern Utah basketball. He has great size for his skill level, excellent basketball IQ and loves to work on his game,” SUU coach Todd Simon told the school’s website. “His upside is extremely high and he is a high character young man that will embody what we want from our Thunderbird athletes.”

Calloway will be at least the third Alaska man to play basketball at Southern Utah, joining Anchorage’s Greg Harton [1997-99] and Anchorage’s Mark Schweigert [1995-97].

At Thunder Mountain, Calloway averaged 24 points and 11.5 rebounds his senior year, but he didn’t like his college offers. So he went to prep school to test himself against better competition.

“I was talking to some coaches when I was in high school and you are basically told, ‘Well, we want to see what you can do outside of Alaska,’” he said. “Playing against some of those top players really helped me measure the player I really was.”