Defensive-minded Calvin giving Raiders a lift on offense

Wright State's Trey Calvin looks for a place to attack Cleveland State's zone defense last Friday night at the Nutter Center. Calvin scored 21 points. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

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Wright State's Trey Calvin looks for a place to attack Cleveland State's zone defense last Friday night at the Nutter Center. Calvin scored 21 points. Jeff Gilbert/CONTRIBUTED

FAIRBORN — Wright State coach Scott Nagy had to deal with significant turnover in his staff last offseason, forced to replace three of his five bench-mates.

But while the upheaval may have contributed to the team’s shaky early-season play, point guard Trey Calvin is grateful for one of Nagy’s hand-picked assistants.

The junior from Chicago has revamped his game, flashing offensive skills that were dormant before this season.

One piece of his repertoire is a deadly mid-range game, which has helped him hike his average from 9.7 points to 14.0. He slithers past his defender to create space and pulls up before defensive help comes.

Asked how he developed his Chris Paul-style jumper, the 6-foot Calvin said, “Honestly, I credit coach Trice for that.”

ExploreNagy wants Raiders to lose their trepidation on offense

Travis Trice was a highly successful Wayne High School boys and girls coach, making numerous deep runs in the tourney with a state boys title in 2015.

He also was an accomplished point guard himself. The Indiana native played at Purdue and Butler.

“He came in and showed me the spots to get to in the middle of the court,” Calvin said. “I get on two feet (with a jump stop) and then shoot.

“I’ve been working constantly in the gym on my mid-range game, just getting shots up.”

The diligence is paying off. Though he started all 24 games last season, he was hesitant to assert himself on offense with so much scoring prowess around him.

This year, though, he’s become a consistent threat to complement Tanner Holden and Grant Basile.

“I feel like we need a shot-maker on our team, and it’s kind of me,” he said. “Coach Nagy gave me the green light this year, and I’m just taking advantage of it.”

His shooting percentage has gone from 34.9 last year to 45.9 this season. And when he lets it fly from 3-point land this year, he’s more likley to make opponents pay.

He took five 3′s per game last season and shot 32%. This year, he’s taking four per game and hitting almost 36%.

Nagy appreciates how Calvin is being more selective.

“If he’s stepping into those 3′s, we like those shots for him. When they’re backing off of him, we want him to take it. He’s been tremendous,” he said.

Driving into the teeth of the defense means he’s drawing contact and shooting more free throws.

He’s 38 of 44 in 20 games for a team-leading 86.4% after going 31 of 39 (79.4) in 24 games last season.

He was the only Wright State starter who didn’t win postseason accolades in 2020-21. Loudon Love was HL player of the year, Holden and Basile were all-league, and Tim Finke made the all-defensive team.

That likely will change this March. While he’s now the team’s third-leading scorer, Calvin is also a menace on defense. He already has 28 steals, just two fewer than last season.

He probably will be one of the players assigned to Detroit Mercy’s Antoine Davis when the Titans and Raiders meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Nutter Center.

Davis, a 6-1 senior guard, leads with country in scoring with a 24.0 average, and he’s capable of torching any opponent. He set the league freshman scoring record with 48 points against the Raiders.

He’s already blown past the HL career record for 3′s with 387. Detroit’s Rashad Phillips had the old mark with 348 from 1997-2001.

His 39 points against Milwaukee also are the most by any player in the league this season.

Calvin, though, sounds ready for the challenge.

“Defense is the main thing I take pride in,” he said. “I’m trying to get the rest of the team to fall in behind me because I’m going to always show up on defense.”

THURSDAY’S GAME

Detroit Mercy at Wright State, 7 p.m., ESPN+, 980

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