Omar Calhoun doesn’t ease into things.
His first year on the varsity at Christ the King, the Park Slope native led the Royals to the CHSAA Class AA intersectional city title and New York State Federation Class AA crown, winning MVP honors in the latter game.
The dynamic 6-foot-3 rising junior returned from a two-month mouth injury in much the same fashion. Calhoun led the host New York Gauchos to the 17U title at the Roundball Classic last Friday, earning MVP honors in the title game by scoring 13 points. In his first game back from injury, on Thursday, he scored 27 points; he had 38 in the very next contest.
“I couldn’t wait to get back on the floor,” he said.
During the Elite Youth Basketball League in Los Angeles, Calhoun took a shot to his mouth, pushing his two front teeth back. He needed to get his mouth wired shut briefly and now plays with a special mouth guard.
It put a crimp into what was beginning to be a great AAU season for Calhoun, the seventh-ranked shooting guard in the Class of 2012, according to Scout.com. He played well in the Elite Youth Basketball League, outscoring Winter Park (Fla.) standout Austin Rivers, considered one of the top prospects in the nation, in the first stop in Houston, Texas. He also led the Gauchos to a 4-1 record at Boo Williams in Virginia.
Despite his prolific performance in the Roundball Classic, Gauchos coach Keith Smith said Calhoun still needs to get into a rhythm after missing so much time on the court. His decision-making still needs work, too, such as when to look for his shot and when to find the open man.
The 16-year-old will be integral to the Gauchos’ success over the rest of July. The Bronx-based program will be in Georgia for Nike Peach Jam and Orlando for the AAU Nationals Super Showcase.
“It’s a big month for everyone,” Smith said. “This is what we prepare the kids for. This is a critical month where they perform in front of the best college coaches in the country.”
Calhoun has drawn plenty of attention already, with offers from Villanova, Louisville, Arizona, West Virginia, Virginia, Rutgers, Florida, Pittsburgh and Miami. St. John’s has gotten involved, too. New coach Steve Lavin has spoken recently to Calhoun and his father, Omar Sr. Calhoun’s only scheduled visit is to attend Florida’s Elite Camp in August.
Clearly, Calhoun isn’t hurting in the recruiting ment department despite a few low-key months,. Yet, he can’t wait to get out on the road with the Gauchos nevertheless.
“I still have schools I want offers from,” he said, referring to top-tier programs such as North Carolina, Duke and Kentucky. “I want everybody. I have to have a big July.”
Calhoun plans to cut down his list to between five and eight after his junior year. He doesn’t have any favorites, but he has developed close bonds with the coaching staffs from Villanova, Pittsburgh and Louisville. The head coaches, however, haven’t seen Calhoun play in awhile, because of in-season duties. They will shortly.
Said his father: “He’s poised to have a tremendous month.”