Drew Calhoun’s unshakable confidence allows her to shoot through slumps, calmly acknowledge makes and wear the word “Swish” on the back of her warmup shirt. But there is one thing that makes her pause.
The question of who is the best shooter in the Calhoun family.
“Wait, I don’t know,” Calhoun said, racking through her mother, father and older sister in her brain. “I’d say my dad, but it’s close. I mean we all can shoot the ball.”
Calhoun is continuing a family tradition for No. 17 Parkdale this season. The junior guard leads the Panthers (16-3, 11-2 Prince George’s 4A) with 44 threes, and her 15.7 points per game ranks second on the team behind point guard Briel Palmer. She is also working to round out her offensive game to avoid being labeled as “just a shooter,” as teams are crowding her whenever she’s near the three-point line.
She does not hold any scholarship offers yet, but she has taken unofficial visits to Maryland-Baltimore County, George Washington and Loyola (Md.).
“We’re trying to increase her skills as far as putting the ball on the floor and things like that,” said Diane Calhoun, Drew’s mother and one of Parkdale’s assistant coaches. “I tell her to watch Steph Curry, because he’s a great shooter and he’s not just shooting. He’s also creating shots for himself and his teammates.”
When Diane first met Gregory Calhoun, she was Wheaton High School’s star shooting guard and he was the point guard of the boys’ team. Diane earned a scholarship to James Madison just as she was falling in love. She and Greg have now been married 33 years and built what Diane calls a “true basketball family,” the kind that will drive for hours to find a game to watch.
First came Demi, and then Drew three years later. Each girl was dribbling a ball by the age of 3, and hoisting shots soon after. Diane and Gregory were each good shooters and thought, if nothing else, their daughters would be the same.
That immediately clicked with Drew, who had a polished jumper by the sixth grade. When Demi started playing for Parkdale, Drew hung around the gym and poured shots through a side basket. When Drew started playing at Parkdale, she slightly tweaked her form to eliminate a windup and shorten her release.
The result has been three years of three-pointers, the next one always smoother than the last. Calhoun, despite an increase in pressure, has scored 10 or more points in all but two games this season. She has also has three games with 20 or more points.
In a 58-36 win at C.H. Flowers on Thursday, she went scoreless in the first half before finding a groove. Cries of “Shooter! Shooter!” filled the gym whenever she touched the ball early on. So Calhoun mixed it up, feeding Parkdale’s forwards and looking to attack the rim off the dribble. After halftime she hit two running floaters, Euro-stepped inside for a layup and added a corner three. Her 11 points, all coming in the second half, ultimately helped the Panthers coast to the Prince George’s 4A victory.
“It is frustrating when they are always paying attention and guarding me close, because obviously I just want to shoot the ball,” Calhoun said. “But if it’s not falling or I’m not getting it, I do try to mix it up. You have to contribute somehow, jump shot or not.”
She first learned that on the hoop behind the Calhouns’ house, where hours of two-on-two have been played. The teams are always Drew and Demi versus their parents. The goal is always to be the best shooter on the court.
Diane admits her range has eroded with time, and says Drew and Gregory would duke it out in a three-point contest. She also tells her youngest daughter that much of her potential is still untapped. Diane did not refine her jump shot until she got to college, and thinks Drew is well ahead of where she was at that age.
But the best in the family? Only time can answer that.
“At this age, I think I’m the best,” Drew said, smiling coyly. “But to be the best overall I still have work to do, and I’m going to do it.”
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