By Gary Lloyd
HOMEWOOD — It wasn’t a game-winner, a step-back 3-pointer or a silky scoop shot between defenders in the lane.
It was a second-quarter free throw Briarwood Christian, and it cut the Hewitt-Trussville deficit to 32-22.
But it was important, a significant 15-footer from the charity stripe.
Jarvis Calhoun, Hewitt-Trussville’s senior guard and UAB signee, dribbled the ball three times with his left hand, then spun it from his left hand to his right. He bent his knees, followed through and let it fly.
At the next timeout, the Homewood High School PA announcer publicly congratulated Calhoun over the sound system for his 2,000th career point, and fans clapped and cheered.
Hewitt-Trussville lost 76-64 in the fifth-place game of the Metro Tournament on Saturday, and Calhoun finished with 25 points. He now has 2,014 for his career. He is just 91 points away from tying Tim Francis, who played in the mid-1970s, for the Hewitt-Trussville career record for points. Calhoun is averaging 18.2 points per game this season, and if that number holds, he’ll need just five more games to reach the milestone.
“It hasn’t been a goal for me, but it’s a blessing to get to 2,000 points,” Calhoun said. “I have to give credit to my team, too, because they get me most of my open shots.”
Calhoun said it didn’t matter to him that the historic point came on a free throw.
“A point is a point,” he said.
The number wasn’t on his mind, either. He said he was concerned with getting a win over a solid Briarwood Christian team.
“He has that winning attitude,” said teammate and fellow senior DeMarcus Kelly. “He’s a great teammate.”
First-year Hewitt-Trussville head coach Mike Dutton, a head basketball coach for more than 25 years, has never coached a player who reached 2,000 career points, he said.
“He’s a phenomenal player,” Dutton said. “He’s a leader by example. He’s a true warrior. If there’s a better shooter in Alabama, I haven’t seen him.”
Dutton referred to 15 sprints the team runs in practices, noting that Calhoun wins most of them. He doesn’t take plays off.
“He’s really showing those other guys what a really big-time person he is and athlete,” Dutton said. “He’ll win those sprints, and that impresses me.”
Calhoun has played the sport since he was 4 or 5, first grabbing a basketball when his dad, Greg Calhoun, who played at Missouri Southern State University, put one in his hands. As Calhoun got the hang of the sport, he kept a ball in his hands whenever he could, even if it meant dribbling down the hallways of his house. His parents sometimes “got on to him” about that, meaning he had to go outside to dribble.
“I wanted to play this game the rest of my life,” Calhoun said. “Whenever I got a chance to dribble, I dribbled the ball and shot the ball.”
His family is his inspiration, he said.
“They’ve been with me since the beginning and they’ve been with me through thick and thin,” he said. “I figure I owe something to them. That’s what drives me every day to keep working hard.”
Pretty soon, Calhoun should have the Hewitt-Trussville High School record for most points in a basketball career.
“It’s a big goal,” he said. “It’s a blessing.”
Contact Gary Lloyd at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.