BOWIE – On a team that features one of the area’s top scorers, Callon Dailey isn’t usually called on to put up many points. Instead, the Bishop McNamara senior forward focuses on doing the dirty work.
“Defense is my big thing," Dailey said, "’cause I like stopping people and then we’ll make the next play. But I know if I have to, I can score. And I try to score when I can, ’cause points are needed, so whenever a team wants to double Marcus [Thornton] or something, I know I can be there for that extra shot ’cause there’s somebody open.”
The William & Mary-bound Thornton is the Mustangs' top scoring option at 22.0 points per game, while fellow senior guard Ibn Muhhamad (Maryland-Eastern Shore) checks in at 11.3, just ahead of Dailey’s 11 points per game.
“I think I need to get stronger overall, and I need to start attacking the basket a lot more,” Dailey said. “I think if I’m more aggressive on offense, a lot of games would be different. I find myself sitting back a lot more because I guess I’m resting for defense and trying to stop somebody.”
Dailey has had his share of high-scoring games, though, including a career-high 28 points in a win over Good Counsel last month.
“We’ve just tried to get it out of him,” McNamara coach Marty Keithline said. “He can definitely score the ball; it’s just at times he’s really broken out. We’re pretty excited for him.”
While the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Dailey – who has yet to commit to a school – may not be the biggest name on McNamara’s roster, he has contributed heavily to the team’s success.
Dailey is averaging seven rebounds and three steals per game while shooting 67.3 percent (33-of-49) from the free throw line for the Mustangs, who are 18-3 overall and 9-2 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.
“He’s done everything we’ve asked him while being been here at Bishop McNamara,” Keithline said. “He’s very athletic and long, he can defend multiple positions, he can score the ball well from both attacking the basket and shooting the ball. So, he brings a lot of things to the table. … I think he’s a Division I player, but it’s just a matter of finding the right school. One that can have a kid play multiple positions.”
At this point, though, Dailey’s recruiting interest has come from lower-level school, such as Division II Washington Adventist University and Wheeling Jesuit (W.Va.) University and Division III programs Catholic, Goucher and Widener.
Rodney Hargrave, who has coached Dailey in AAU since he was 10 years old, thinks Dailey’s lack of bulk may have something to do with that.
“I know once he gets in a [college] program and he does get bigger, that’ll just take his upside even higher,” Hargrave said. “I know there’s not a lot of big schools really looking at him right now, but maybe once they start the playoffs and more people come out to the games, they’ll take notice and see what he’s doing now.”
Hargrave said he has always known that Dailey had an all-around game.
“I’ve coached a lot of kids,” he said, “and his work ethic and his perseverance are unmatched. I used to coach [highly-ranked DeMatha junior guard] James Robinson, too – all of them played on the same team at one time – and he’s just like he is: a diligent kid that works very hard and is real respectful.”
Dailey, 17, transferred to McNamara from Bowie after his freshman year. He spent his sophomore season on the junior varsity, but became an immediate starter after joining the varsity as a junior. He was an Honorable Mention all-conference selection last fall.
“We definitely rely on him to guard the other team’s best perimeter wing player,” Keithline said. “A two, three, four-man. He gets after it.”
Dailey is confident that he can provide a college team with a similar effort.
“I know I’m always all over the place on the court,” he said, “and I always hustle after the ball to get those rebounds and second-chance shots. I’m always there trying to get those, so I think that’s what I can bring to the team.”
Off the court, Dailey has played the saxophone since 7th grade, and is a member of McNamara’s Wind Ensemble. The group will travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C. in April to perform.
“I’ll probably – if anything – just join a small local band [in college],” Dailey said. “Just something to do in my free time.”
Also an avid reader, Dailey said he enjoys reading horror or action and adventure books. The last book he finished was Ender’s Game, a science fiction novel. He said he’s changed his mind about potential major several times already, which just adds to the pressure of finding a college home.
“Sometimes, when, like, I know a coach is there, it’ll be more pressure on me to do better,” he said. “It’s been rough, but overall? Yeah, it’s still fun.”