Chapter III

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Callier continues to power forward

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.

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