Wright State basketball: Calvin regains form after getting wake-up call

FAIRBORN — Trey Calvin knew there was something lacking in his commitment to basketball going into his senior season at Wright State.

Whether it was seeing two of his classmates and best friends transfer to a higher level in the offseason, he couldn’t say for sure. But he wasn’t as engaged as he had been in past years.

“Honestly, I wasn’t here mentally,” he said. “My mind was somewhere else during practice.”

Coach Scott Nagy noticed. And when heart-to-heart talks weren’t enough, he decided to pull Calvin from the starting lineup after seven games — even though the 6-foot-1 guard was the team’s leading scorer.

“At first, obviously, I was surprised,” Calvin said. “But I talked to coach Nagy and the other coaches, and I realized what I was doing was affecting the team in a negative way.

“I’m not the loudest kid, but I’m a little more vocal now. … I also got back on track with practicing, and I’m dong better.”

ExploreRaiders hope to limit damage from one of NCAA's all-time top scorers

The preseason second-team All-Horizon League pick had started 65 consecutive games, and getting bumped from the lineup was clearly a jolt.

He had seven points in his first game as a reserve and nine points in another.

But he regained his form by the fifth game, scoring 27 points off the bench on 10-of-13 shooting with seven assists in a win at Miami.

In his two starts since then, he’s scored a combined 52 points while going 19 of 32 from the field, including 7 of 13 on 3′s.

“It was hard for him,” Nagy said. “He mentally fought it, but then he got behind it. When he REALLY got behind it around Christmastime, things really changed for him. He’s playing better.”

Calvin said talks with his parents helped him through the process. Huddling with assistant Travis Trice was beneficial, too.

One thing he was determined to do throughout the humbling experience was not to be a distraction.

“I didn’t want to be a problem. I’m a big factor on this team. The coaches tell me all the time we’re going as far as I take us. I know I have to be confident and positive every day,” he said.

After losing stars Tanner Holden and Grant Basile with eligibility left, the Raiders have sorely needed Calvin to become one of the league’s top players — and that’s clearly what’s happened.

He’s third in scoring with an 18.4 average, fifth in assists (4.5) and tied for fourth in field-goal shooting (50%). He’s also hitting 89.7% from the foul line (26 of 29), which would be the third-best mark if he had enough attempts to qualify.

He’ll likely be in the discussion for HL player of the year if the Raiders, who are 8-7 overall and 1-3 in the league, can climb into contention for the title.

“I’m not really thinking about accolades. As a team, we’re not in a position for me to think like that,” he said.

“Right now, I’m just worried about going game by game and getting wins — because that’s what we need right now.”

Calvin said he’s spent more time on his own in the gym than he has at any time in his career, and Nagy deserves some credit for the turnaround, too.

He drew more out of Calvin when many coaches would’ve been content with what they were getting.

“We all need to know things don’t just get handed to you. I have to fire myself every day. It’s not MY office. It could be someone else’s tomorrow. There has to be a level of desperation,” Nagy said.

“Sometimes, we settle and get comfortable, but if I’m going to love him, I’ve got to hold him accountable. The easy thing to do would be to say, ‘Ah, I’ll just let it keep going.’ But we want to help Trey become a better man.”

FRIDAY’S GAME

Detroit Mercy at Wright State, 7 p.m., ESPN2, 980

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