For more on high school basketball, follow Justin Kenny online at www.Twitter.com/jkenny_ns
In terms of scoring, Friday just wasn't D.J. McCall's night.
The Concordia Lutheran senior was scoreless in a 53-46 loss to Homestead, which left coach Josh Eggold wondering whether his veteran player had ever been held to zero points.
Most players considered to be their team's primary scorer would have continued to shoot, forcing shot after shot while facing double or triple teams and ignoring open teammates.
But not McCall.
Instead, the leader of the young team found other ways to contribute. He grabbed seven rebounds, played solid defense and found open teammates for points.
McCall even called plays on his own intuition -- calls that Eggold firmly backed up because of his confidence in his senior guard.
“D.J. is very smart; he knows our stuff well,” Eggold said. “I think he is capable of analyzing things in-game and that's one of the things we have coached, to take ownership of things.”
It doesn't sound like a big deal for a player to make play-calling decisions for his team on the court, but at the high school level it is unique. It is one thing as a guard to be able to run what is called by the coach. It is something else to accurately make a play call from the floor based on what a player sees in the flow of the game.
“I've been around the program for four years now, I know the playbook really well from experience,” McCall said. “It goes back to (the player and coach relationship). If me or even (guard Reggie Tharp) calls something, he has complete trust in us. I think that has a lot to do with Coach Eggold. He encourages us to see a mismatch somewhere and identify it.”
McCall has found himself in a different role for this year's team a season removed from finishing Class 3A runner-up with a wealth of seniors. Last year, he was looked upon purely as a scorer as he averaged 17.3 points per game.
This year, McCall has stepped up to do a little bit of everything.
“Basically, (Coach Eggold) wants me to be a triple threat,” McCall said. “A kind of guy who can score, rebound with our loss of size and facilitate and pass. I honestly wasn't that discouraged about the zero-point game. I felt like our guys got a lot of looks from three just from me catching (the ball) and drawing other guys (defensively).”
While a season like last year was fun, this campaign may be doing more to prepare McCall for the next level. At IUPUI, he will have to be a more well-rounded player and not just a scorer when playing the shooting guard position and occasionally moving over to the point to create mismatches.
“Next year when I go into IUPUI … I'll go from being the top guy to being just another top guy from a high school,” McCall said. “I am going to have to handle adversity at IUPUI.”
From the looks of it, he is handling adversity just fine with the Cadets (3-5) while finding other ways to contribute when he is the focal point of the opposition.
But just to prove he can still put the ball in the hoop, just one day after being held scoreless by Homestead, McCall went for a career-high 31 points against Leo.
“It is nice scoring a lot at times, but my favorite thing is to share the wealth,” McCall said. “I think for us to succeed and win some more games, I have to have a good balance between scoring, rebounding and passing.”
Spoken like a true selfless player, a rare breed at any level.