Now, 21 years later, the basketball coaches in the Horizon League are saying the same thing about Wright State’s 6-foot senior guard. He has shown himself to be special in so many ways:
» He leads the Raiders’ in scoring this season. Going into Saturday night’s game against Cleveland State at the Nutter Center, he was averaging 18.8 points per game, third best in the league.
» He’s provided many of the marquee moments for the Raiders this year. He opened the season with a career-high 37 points against Davidson and he hit the winning jump shot, in traffic, with four seconds left to beat Louisville, 73-72.
Eight days ago in Milwaukee, he scored eight of the Raiders’ nine points in overtime — all on contested jumpers near the lane — to edge the Panthers, 78-74.
»He is the most popular player on the team if you go by the clamoring scrum of kids trying to get his autograph after home games.
Entering Saturday night’s game vs. Cleveland State, he had played in 109 games for the Raiders and scored 1,238 points.
And those numbers likely will soar is he follows through on the career thoughts he shared late Friday:
“I’ll graduate in April, but I plan to stay one more year here. I have the extra COVID season and I’ll likely use it.”
In between his baby crib beginning and his run on the WSU record book, a lot of scouting reports missed the mark on Calvin.
Playing at Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois, he was under-recruited and said he got just two scholarship offers: Wright State and the University of Illinois-Chicago.
“He was playing in an AAU tournament in Wisconsin, I believe and there was another good point guard on the other team, but Trey was just killing him,” Sylvester said. “Wright State was there and from that day forward, Coach (Scott) Nagy wanted hm.
“Wright State was on him very aggressive and they were the first to offer him a scholarship.
“Coach Nagy came to our house and we sat down and talked. And he said, ‘I want your son.’ He thought Trey could play at a high level.” Raquel remembered the late Dick Nagy — the father of WSU coach Scott Nagy and himself a longtime college at Illinois and UIC — coming to Trey’s games and talking to him.
When Trey visited WSU, he liked the coaches, the facilities and the school and he committed
“If he hadn’t committed before his senior year, he might he had a ton of offers” Sylvester said. “But we wanted him to be with the guys who saw him before everybody else, not somebody who hopped on the train at the last minute.
“Trey wanted to be with someone who saw who he really was right from the start.”
Credit: Timothy D. Easley
Credit: Timothy D. Easley
Finish what you started
Last season ended up magical for the Raiders.
They won the Horizon League Tournament and then their first game ever in the NCAA (D-I) Tournament, topping Bryant University in a First Four game at UD Arena.
Although they then lost to No. 1 Arizona 87-70 at Viejas Arena in San Diego, they all talked about coming back even stronger this year since the team’s top players all were returning.
But soon after that Tanner Holden announced he was jumping to Ohio State and Grant Basile soon followed suit and transferred to Virginia Tech. They were the team’s two top scorers and had accounted for 2,709 points in three seasons.
“We had just won a ring and I didn’t think anybody was going to leave. I thought we’d all come back and go through that experience again,” said Calvin, who’d been the third leading scorer on the team and had especially shined in the Raiders’ five postseason games.
“Their leaving was a surprise to everybody in the program. It was a real blindside.”
The first thing Calvin did was call Nagy and tell him he was coming back.
“We believe in loyalty, in finishing what you start, but we left it up to him,” Raquel said. “It was his decision and we’re slowly accepting he’s a man, that he’s grown. We did give him input, but we told him we’d be behind him 100 percent, whatever he decided.”
Calvin said he heard from a couple of his former AAU coaches, who said they’d been approached by other (college) coaches who wondered what he was going to do: “Was he thinking of leaving, too?”
Raquel said they told anyone who asked: “He’s sticking with where he started.”
“He loves the coaches there,” Sylvester said.
Raquel agreed: “He loves Coach Nagy and especially Coach Trice (assistant Travis Trice). They really get along.”
Nagy and Calvin have developed a bond that sometimes comes with unvarnished assessment from the coach, but gets smoothed out because their relationship is built on honesty, love and respect.
That made it easier for Calvin this year when his string of 65 straight starts came to an end when Nagy decided to help him get more focused and brought him off the bench for five games in December.
He still averaged 15.8 points in that span and ended the five-game exile with a 27-point effort against Miami.
“Coming off the bench was different, but I think I handled it well,” Calvin said. “I know who I am and what I mean to this team, so it didn’t matter if I came off the bench or not.
“Coach Nagy and the other coaches have been on my side the past four years, even times when I haven’t been playing the way I should.
“Coach Nagy tells you how it is, straight out. Younger guys might not understand that yet, but he’s showing love in his own way. I kind of do the same thing.
“But in the end, he loves his players and wants you to do your best.”
And that’s what Sylvester especially appreciates:
“Wright State has been a good place for Trey to grow and a lot of that has to do with Coach Nagy.
“He holds him accountable for everything he does on and off the court.
“As a father, that’s something you want for your young son. Anybody would want that for a young man that they value.”
During warmups before a game at the Nutter Center, Calvin will slip up into the stands when his parents take their seats in a section behind the team bench.
He gives them a quick “Hello” and thanks them for coming over once more from Illinois.
“They first put a basketball in my hands when I was about three and they’ve always been there since,” he said. “They travelled around the country to my AAU games and they never missed one of my high school games.”
They’re at most of his Nutter Center games now, too.
His two younger brothers are also basketball talents — 18-year-old Isaiah is at the College of DuPage, a community college in Glen Ellyn, Ill., and 16-year-old Josiah is in high school — and they get some of their parents’ attention, too.
But Trey is on the highest profile stage and he especially draws their attention.
“It’s a feeling that’s kind of hard to describe, except that it’s just such satisfaction.” Sylvester said.
“A month ago I was telling one of my buddies: ‘It’s just such a good feeling, where I can crack open a beer, turn on the TV and with my wife sitting right there with me, we watch him playing in a game and see him dominate. It’s one of the greatest feelings in the world.’”