For Detroit and Creighton, the NCAA Tournament is a Family Affair

Over the next several weeks, many fathers and mothers will have the chance to see their dreams unfold before them as they watch their sons participate in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Yet there are two fathers who won’t be watching from the stands; they will be coaching from the sidelines–Detroit’s Ray McCallum and Creighton’s Greg McDermott.


Coming out of high school, McDonald’s All-American, Ray McCallum Jr., had some pretty impressive offers from some of the top basketball programs in the country. All the big-time schools wanted him: Duke, Kansas, Arizona, UCLA, Florida, and Michigan State to name a few.

However, McCallum Jr. turned down these top programs to instead play for a small school in the Horizon League–The University of Detroit Mercy–because he wanted to play for his father.

At the time, Ray McCallum Sr. was heading into his third season with the Detroit Titans, attempting to resurrect a mid-major team that had not had a lot of success in recent years. A highly touted player such as his son would go a long way in achieving that goal.

Since the father and son paired up at Detroit, they have helped to turn the Titan program around, leading the school to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1998.

McCallum Jr., considered to be one of the tournament’s players to watch, heads into the tournament leading the Titans in points (15.6) assists (3.9) and steals (1.2), adding 4.5 rebounds per game.

Though the Detroit Titans face the daunting task of taking on the No. 2 seeded Kansas Jayhawks in the Midwest bracket this Friday, it is the chance of a lifetime for this father and son–and they get to live out their dreams together.


When Greg McDermott signed on to become the head coach at  Creighton two years ago, he took his son, Doug, with him.

Not highly recruited out of high school, Doug McDermott had decided to sign with Northern Iowa. However, when his dad left Iowa State for Creighton, Doug decided instead to follow him.

Now, in his sophomore season with the Bluejays, Doug has become one of the best players in the country, and another one to keep an eye on during the NCAA Tourney. The 6’7″ forward was recently named as a first team All-American, the first Bluejay ever to receive the honor, and is a finalist for the Wooden Award. He  ranks 3rd in scoring in the nation, averaging 23. 3 points per game in addition to his 8.2 rebounds per game. McDermott is seventh in the country in field goal percentage (61.7%) and fifth in the nation from three-point range (nearly 50%).

Facing off first against No. 9 seeded Alabama, the No. 8 seeded Bluejays, led by the McDermotts, have a good shot at making some noise in the tournament this year.


For these two families, basketball is more than just a game, and the Tournament is more than just another dream. For the McCallums and the McDermotts, it’s about family.