DeAnthony McCallum is averaging 16.3 points per game over his last seven games after averaging 11.7 through his first nine.
DeAnthony McCallum is averaging 16.3 points per game over his last seven games after averaging 11.7 through his first nine.
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Before ICC's conference opener with Pratt, Pirate assistant coach Chad Bowers said DeAnthony McCallum was the X-Factor in the game.

At that point McCallum had played all of two games for the Pirates, and while he had averaged 18.5 points per game in those two, they were against JV squads from Oklahoma Wesleyan and Central Methodist. No one honestly knew who he was.

In that match-up with Pratt McCallum possibly proved to be the difference in the game. He scored 17 points off the bench, and went 7-8 from the free throw line in a game that was ultimately decided by eight points.

Even with that game though McCallum was still learning. While he would go on to score 19 points two games later versus Neosho County, three of his next four games he would score no more than three points off the bench.

But he was still the type of player teams had to be wary of off of the bench. He truly was the X-factor in his first several games with the Pirates.

He is no longer an X-factor.

Even after exploding onto the scene with a 24-point performance with his debut November 7, he has grown in his confidence night after night. That's easy to see on the court and his teammates can certainly see it as well.

"I feel like he's way more confident," sophomore guard Da'Jon Streeter said. "Before the Coffeyville game and the conference games we didn't know if he was going to redshirt or not but now he's a key piece to the team.

"And the last three or four games he's feeling it, scoring 15-plus, so we just want the same thing from him, 15 to 20 a game."

McCallum has settled into his role with the Pirates, whether that be off the bench or in the starting line-up as he was in their match-up with Pratt Wednesday, and he has become the type of scorer the Pirates truly need.

The freshman guard has gone on a seven-game streak in which he has scored in double-figures, and in five of his last six he has scored at least 16.

He has done it from the line where he's shooting 70 percent on the season, he's done it from three where he's shooting 41 percent on the year and 58 percent in his last seven games, and he has done it inside the arc as well shooting 53 percent in those last seven.

"I feel good, very confident," McCallum said. "I've been feeling my jumper lately, just feel it getting going."

ICC will need McCallum to get it going Saturday night when they take on Coffeyville at home.

In the first match-up between the two teams November 16, a game decided by just one point, McCallum had a lot of trouble getting going.

That was one of just two games all year long where he was held scoreless. It was the only game all year where he was held scoreless and actually saw shots from the field.

He has become a different player since then though. He's been more assertive and in control on the court. If he sees a chance to drive or space for an open shot he takes it. There's no hesitation at all from the freshman and now he's a piece that Coffeyville will have to prepare for this time.

In the first match-up Streeter and Tate Turner combined to score 58 of ICC's 79 points. One of the biggest hold-ups in ICC's game that night was that Streeter and Turner's looks got tougher and tougher as the night went along because they were not getting production from elsewhere.

That may not be as easy this time around for the Red Ravens as McCallum has started to come into his own and Tez Scroggins has really started to open it up as well.

All in all this is not the same team CCC played in their first match-up at Nellis Hall. McCallum is one of the biggest parts of that.

"If me, him and Tate can do that, I don't feel like there's going to be a team that can stop us," Streeter said after Wednesday's win over Pratt. "Then we've got Tez scoring double-digits, Tyrone (Riley) double-digit rebounds, double-digit points, that's good for us.

"We've just got to try and stay consistent, that's all we're trying to do, and it starts in practice. If we nonchalant in practice, we nonchalant in the game, so we've got to have more energy, and we haven't had a long break, we've been going since we got back, two-a-days, so we've got to get in the ice bath, get recovered, just get ready for that game Saturday."