Former GJR youth and hoops great shares his passion for the game and life
Last year it was on my heart to develop a program for at risk youth. I wanted to to tell them my story of overcoming adversity and triumphing against the odds. Though I have been very busy with basketball this past year, this program has been in my sight. It is my desire to expand it across Pennsylvania next summer. I am very excited and look forward to another season of professional basketball. I will be headed to Sweden to play for Jämtland Basket in the Swedish Basketball League. This is a great milestone for me, considering how far I have come. This is the message I try to convey to kids. From humble beginnings, walking I turned a bleak future into a promising one. During my annual basketball camps, the Pro Experience, I have relayed this message of never giving up. I am committed to the George Junior Republic and the Grove City community that gave me a chance and supported me so much. This is why I come back every year, not only to do my basketball camps but to visit the people that mean so much to me. This past season, I was challenged to practice what I preach in my camps.
After last year’s centennial celebration at GJR, I was invited to go to a NBA D League Tryout. I was so happy my old coach from the Vermont Frostheaves wanted me to come out to Bakersfield California, to tryout for his team the Bakersfield Jam. I was doing fairly well being one of the leaders of the team and then I got hurt. I never been so close to accomplishing my dreams ever before, I was crushed that my body let me down in that way. I took some time to reflect on what I should do from there. That was the closes I ever had been to considering actually quitting basketball. It was a rough moment in my life, but with the support of my family and friends, I was able fight through this rough time and kept striving to pursue my goal: a basketball career.
I soon got myself healthy and started marketing myself to different teams in the U.S and over seas. I ended up going to play another season for the Vermont Frostheaves in Barre Vermont. I had a rough season there, I didn’t play very much and the situation was not luxurious to say the least. Our coach ended up leaving half way through the season. After his departure , things got worse. The only bright spot (and warm spot) was getting to go to Puerto Rico.
Post Season, I decided that I try to play in the International Basketball League to stay in shape and work on my game. After several attempts to contact coaches, I made an impression on a coach out of Edmonton, Canada. He invited me to play for the Edmonton Energy. This was the first time I understood what I needed to do before I even stepped foot in the gym. I knew my role for this team was leadership and unselfish play. I ended up doing really well, averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds a game. Not only did I play well, but I had the time of my life!
Now I am beginning another exciting journey to Sweden, I am really excited and proud that I overcame the challenges of life and ended up accomplishing my goal. Next year the Pro experience Basketball camp will expand to state facilities around the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and my regular camp for the community of Grove City and George Junior Republic will grow as well. I am making friends at Nike that are willing to donate to my cause. I hope that it comes through for next year. I just want to take the time to thank George Junior Republic, the staff, teachers, administration and most importantly the community and supporters for supporting my career. I look forward to another exciting year and I will tell you all about it next year.
CLICK BOTTOM RIGHT ICON OF PROFILE TO VIEW CALLIERS PLAYER INFORMATION
Click to check out Benson Callier's Player Profile
Pro Experience Camp 2009 Photos
Chapter II...(Explicit Lyrics)
Collegiate Career Information
As A Senior(2006-07): Started 10-out-of-11 games in his final season on The Hill, contributing consistently on defense with 13 offensive rebounds and 22 major defensive rebounds, further providing strategic ability by 7 steals, 4 blocks, and 11 assists.....shooting season average of .41% from behind the arc. Produced a double-figure performance with 3 teammates in an exhibition victory over Kentucky State...grabbed 6 boards in season opener win against Kennesaw State. Callier made both ends of a one-and-one twice in a 22-second span to make it 35-33 two-and-a-half minutes in lead-fluctuating win vs. Georgia.His three point shot gave the Toppers their first double digit lead in defeat over Montana. Hit four straight free-throwsagainst National Champions, University of Florida, ultimately supplying 15 points and 4 rebounds.
As A Junior (2005-06): Averaged 8.9 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest in his first season on the Hill after transferring from Florida State ... Numbers climbed to 11.6 points and 4.6 boards per contest in Sun Belt action ... Second in the league with a 43.8 three-point field-goal percentage, which ranked ninth on WKU’s season record list ... Fifth on the squad with 22 steals ... Also has 29 assists and four blocked shots ... Hit 72.3 percent from the free-throw line in conference play ... Posted 11 points, four boards and two steals in just 20 minutes in victory over New Orleans on 3/5 in the quarterfinals of the Sun Belt Conference Tournament ... Had 11 points and three rebounds in 19 minutes in 2/25 victory over Florida International ... Scored all 12 of his points in the second half at Middle Tennessee on 2/23, adding five rebounds in 27 minutes ... Collected eight rebounds in addition to scoring five points and handing out three assists in 2/18 victory over Northern Arizona ... Recorded 16 points and six rebounds in win at Arkansas-Little Rock on 2/16, going 4-of-5 from the floor while hitting all six free-throw attempts ... Posted 10 points and a team-high-tying eight rebounds in 1/31 victory at Florida International ... Just missed a double-double after scoring 13 points and grabbing nine rebounds in win over New Orleans on 1/28, also handing out a career-high-tying three assists ... Had 12 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes in 1/21 victory at South Alabama, hitting 5-of-9 from the field including both of his three-point attempts ... Scored 13 points and added eight rebounds in 22 minutes at Troy on 1/19 ... Recorded a game-high 21 points — going 7-of-12 from the floor — to go along with three rebounds and two steals in win over Arkansas State on 1/14 ... Collected nine points and four rebounds in 1/7 victory over Middle Tennessee ... Posted 17 points and six rebounds off the bench in win at Arkansas State on 1/5 ... Had 11 points and three assists against Pacific on 12/10 ... Scored 10 straight points down the stretch as WKU held off Eastern Kentucky on 12/3, finishing with 16 points in 18 minutes after making 4-of-5 from three-point range — he also had four rebounds and a pair of steals ... Led all scorers with a career-best 21 points in WKU debut against Austin Peay on 11/18, adding six rebounds and a pair of steals.
Looking Back: A two-year letterwinner at Florida State before transferring to the Hill prior to the start of classes in August ... Collected 15 points and 12 rebounds in 11 appearances off the bench in 2003-04 as the Seminoles went 19-14 and advanced to the NIT ... As a freshman, he recorded 33 points and 26 rebounds in 19 contests ... That included going 5-of-12 (41.7%) from behind the three-point arc in his first collegiate season ... The best game of his two-year career came at North Carolina in 2002-03, when he scored 13 points — including hitting three three-pointers — and grabbed six rebounds in 20 minutes of action in a one-point loss to the Tar Heels ... Other highlights of his freshman season included scoring six points in two minutes at Georgia Tech as well as pulling down four rebounds in eight minutes at Maryland ...
Graduated from George Junior Republic (Pa.) High School after playing only one year of organized basketball, averaging 18 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks per game in his only season at the school ... Was selected first-team big school all-state as well as the Most Valuable Player of the Mercer County Conference ... Posted four games with 30-plus points — with a high of 42 — and 14 double-doubles as his efforts helped the Tigers finish 22-3 while earning a berth in the state tournament ... Also chosen MVP of the Pennsylvania-Ohio All-Star Game after pouring in an event-record 31 points ... One of the highlights of his senior season was a 14-point, 11-rebound performance against No. 6 Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St. Mary High, which featured 2004 National Basketball Association Rookie of the Year LeBron James.