A Thunder Mountain High School graduate’s basketball career took a major Eurostep forward last week.
Jacob Calloway, a 2015 TMHS graduate, signed a one-year contract on Saturday with the Pully Lausanne Foxes, one of 12 teams in the Swiss Basketball League, the highest-level of professional basketball in the country of 8.5 million people.
“It’s pretty cool, man,” Calloway said in an interview on Tuesday afternoon. “It’s like the dream’s coming true.”
Calloway will fly out of Juneau on Tuesday night and said he will begin practicing with the team either this week or next. Calloway said his ultimate dream is to play in the NBA.
“I feel like playing in Switzerland is just another step towards that goal,” he said. “I’m going to get there and play as hard as I can and do the best that I can to move up.”
After graduating from high school, Calloway, a 6-foot-8 forward, played one season with OnPoint Hoops Academy, a player development academy in El Reno, Oklahoma, a town of about 16,000.
It was a year well spent.
While playing for OnPoint, Calloway was recruited to play at Southern Utah University, becoming the first Juneau-bred player to play at a Division I school since Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé big man Will Egolf did so a decade earlier.
As a junior with the Thunderbirds last season, Calloway averaged 10 points and four rebounds while shooting 46 percent from the field, including 38 percent from 3-point range. The Thunderbirds finished the year at 17-17, their first non-losing season in over a decade.
Calloway counted offensive efficiency as one of his greatest strengths.
“I had a really good junior year, especially advanced-numbers wise,” Calloway said. “I think I was ranked as one of the best players in the country on offense and one of the best on defense. I talked to my family, my fiancée and we kind of decided this year was more the year for me to go pro.”
Calloway visited Paris, France, this summer with his fiancée Ines, and while over there, played in open gyms with professional European players. Calloway decided to forgo his senior season at SUU and go pro in part because of how well he was able to keep up with them on the basketball court. He would later hire an agent, who connected him with the Pully Lausanne Foxes.
“It’s very exciting, not only personally, but also for Thunder Mountain,” TMHS boys basketball coach John Blasco said. “Jacob was our first Division I athlete and (you) definitely could see the drive and the skillset there when he was in high school to get to that level.”
Blasco said he wasn’t shocked when Calloway told him he was going pro.
“As the last couple years have gone on and watching Jacob and following him, each year it seemed like the opportunity to play professionally was going more and more real,” Blasco said.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.