FAIRBORN — After Wright State lost stars Tanner Holden and Grant Basile to Power-5 schools last spring, folks around the program wouldn’t have been shocked if Trey Calvin looked for a place to land at the major-college level, too.
He certainly has the game for it. Who wouldn’t want an experienced guard who thrives on defense and has the ability to create his own shot?
But while Holden (Ohio State) and Basile (Virginia Tech) jumped at the chance to play in marquee leagues — and gain access to more Name, Image and Likeness money that’s readily available — Calvin decided to stay put.
He’s developed close relationships with coach Scott Nagy and assistant Travis Trice and didn’t want to see those end.
“I feel like I could have moved up and moved on,” he said. “But with coach Nagy, I’ve got my loyalties with him. He’s helped me out through the years. He’s stuck with me even when I wasn’t the player I should’ve been. I feel like my loyalties were to stick with him.”
He added: “That’s just how I’ve always been — being loyal to the people who are loyal to you.”
Calvin said he heard of the All-Horizon League duo transferring only a couple of days before it happened. He had an inking Holden might go, but he said he didn’t see Basile’s exit coming.
“That’s the last person I thought was going to leave,” he said.
But he added: “I’m happy for them. I congratulated them. It’s a big opportunity for them.
“They’re still my boys. I just saw Tanner (last) weekend. I went over to Ohio State. We were just hanging out.”
Spending time in Columbus only reinforced to Calvin that he’d made the right decision.
“I’m really happy here. I like the coaches, and the coaches like me. They have high expectations of me, and they push me hard. That’s what I need,” he said.
He’s also cashing in under the new NIL rules, albeit at a much more modest pace.
Though he didn’t divulge specifics, he’s earning money through a connection with a local car dealership.
“I’m always looking for more, but it helps a lot,” he said. “Even though we get money from the school (with scholarship stipends), it’s always good to have a little extra money to keep you comfortable.”
Calvin grew increasingly comfortable on the court last season. He averaged 14.6 points, about five more than the previous year and third on the team behind Holden (20.1) and Basile (18.4). He a;so was first in assists (3.4) and steals (1.6).
The 6-foot senior was at his best when the spotlight was brightest, averaging 18.2 points in three games in the HL tournament and two in the NCAA tourney.
Under Trice’s tutelage, he’s developed a Chris Paul-like mid-range jumper that became a real weapon for the Raiders.
“His first two years, he didn’t make any of those shots. Last year, he made all of them,” said Nagy, exaggerating only slightly. “We knew it was a good shot for him. But sometimes, it just takes a while to get confidence.
“Defensively, he just causes so much problems — incredible instincts. He’s nearly impossible to ball-screen. Very few guys I’ve coached have been like he is on the ball.”
Those who knew him back at St. Viator High School in suburban Chicago might be surprised to learn he’s become a defensive nuisance.
“Honestly, in high school, I wasn’t much of a defender. But coming to college, Nagy said I’m not playing at all if I’m not playing defense. He’s the one who motivated me, and I’ve carried that with me throughout the years,” he said.
Though the Raiders will have to forge a new path without two players who combined for 2,709 points in three seasons — and rank 10th (Holden) and 21st (Basile) on the all-time scoring list — the staff did a commendable job reinforcing the roster by signing transfers Amari Davis and Blake Sisley.
The 6-2 Davis was a two-time All-Horizon League pick at Green Bay, while the 6-9 Sisley averaged six points as a freshman at Evansville last season, scoring at a double-figure clip over the final 10 games.
“I’m excited for the year,” Calvin said. “We’ve got a lot of new guys and a lot of good kids off the court.
“Amari is going to help a lot with scoring. That’s what he does.”
Look for Calvin to be a little more offensive-minded, too:
“The expectations are to (average) around 18 to 20 points, six assists and a couple steals — do a little bit of everything.”