Ray McCallum in the NBA?

Coach Ray McCallum stood on the hardwood floor of the Palace of Auburn Hills. The lights, brighter than those of Calihan Hall, shone on him as he spoke to about 100 local coaches. His voice echoed through the stadium.It was Saturday, Sept. 25, and McCallum was hosting his third annual basketball-coaching clinic.

Above him hung banners honoring past players, coaches and championship teams, telling the story of a proud and successful franchise.

The court, newly resurfaced in anticipation of the upcoming NBA season, bore the round red, white and blue logo of the Detroit Pistons. It’s a logo that resembles the Titans’ shield and sword in shape and color, but the similarities between the teams don’t end there.

Dick Vitale, who coached the Titans from 1973-77, left Calihan Hall for the bright lights of the NBA in 1978 and coached the Pistons for a little over a season.

Seven former Titans were drafted by the Pistons, and even more called the Motor City home for at least part of their professional careers.

The Pistons and Titans haven’t had a player or coaching connection in over a decade, but some of the speakers at the clinic, including current professionals John Kuester and Kelvin Sampson, believe McCallum and some of his players could one day make it in the NBA.

"Ray can coach at any level," said Sampson, an assistant with the Milwaukee Bucks. "He has great common sense, he has a feel for people and you can tell he loves (the game)."

Sampson was head coach at the University of Oklahoma when he hired McCallum as an assistant in 2004. When he took the head-coaching job at Indiana University in 2006, Sampson brought McCallum with him.

For Sampson, the decision to hire – and keep – McCallum was easy.

"He’s a great human being, tremendous person and great role model for kids," he said. "His greatest attribute is getting people to believe in him."

Kuester, head coach of the Pistons, called McCallum a "special coach" for his work at UDM and throughout the community.

Kuester highlighted the star-studded lineup that included Sampson, Pistons assistant coach Pat Sullivan, Miami University (Ohio) head coach Charlie Coles and ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla.

Kuester talked about secondary offense, and used members of the Titan basketball team to demonstrate plays.

Although the student-athletes were demonstrating specific practice drills, Kuester said they did so with a great pace.

"They understand the energy and effort that it’s going to take for them to be successful this year," he said.

McCallum was grateful to the coaches who spoke at the clinic, saying it was "as good" as any he’s ever been a part of.

"The coaches were outstanding and I really believe everyone who attended will leave here having learned more about the game of basketball," he said.

He added that working with Kuester, Fraschilla and others benefitted his team, and was an experience they would never forget.

According to Kuester, it was beneficial for him, too.

"Watching them go through some of those drills is important as an NBA coach, so we can say, ‘Hey, I remember that kid from that one camp.’ "

"Don’t kid yourself," he added, smiling. "We remember everything.