Dedication Pays Off – Callum Barker decides on Bradley University as he takes his game to next level
In 2014, Callum Barker competed in the Adidas Nations tournament, now the 6’9’’ bruising forward has committed to the resurgent NCAA Division I school, Bradley University. Barker’s performance at Nations showcased his game and talents alongside players from all around the globe, giving him the opportunity to compete at a high level and put his name on the map.
Barker had been playing basketball at a high level, including representing his home state of Tasmania for many years before attracting the attention of college scouts. “After the U18 Australian National tournament in 2013 in Brisbane, Queensland, was when I really started to get calls from college coaches and emails,” Barker said.
Barker, who has been a standout while representing Tasmania as a player, and who calls Hobart home, soaked up the experience of playing with high level teammates, but also receiving solid coaching along the way.
“Justin Schueller has been a great influence, he really helped me get serious about trying to get to the next level,” Barker added.
For Barker, the motivation to get better and to see where the game will take him comes from the game itself. “I like being competitive and having a chance to win. I like travelling around the country and competing in the team environment.”
Barker continued, “I pretty much train everyday with my various teams. I lift six days a week in the gym. I don’t really follow a special diet. Every time I get up and train I know I’m getting better than someone who is not training.”
Playing with solid teammates growing up, Barker was able to become a part of something special for Tasmania. Quite, an achievement considering Tasmania is Australia’s smallest state by size and population. The young, Bradley-bound forward touched on that a bit. “We knew that we had a pretty special group in Tasmania. Usually you have one or two really good players, but we had 10 good players that fit in really well and we knew we had something special for Tasmania. We were the first to earn a bronze medal in U18 competition for Tasmania.”
Barker missed out on playing in the U20’s with Tasmania in 2015 because he opted to go to a prep school in Massachusetts to increase his eligibility status for college options. Fortunately, it was a good choice for Barker who made the most of the situation and experience. “In Massachusetts, the game was a lot more fast paced and every guy is fighting for his spot and minutes. You never know if you’re going to play for sure. It seems like every guy was athletic and could finish above the rim.”
As far as the weather on the East Coast, Barker explained, “It was sort of tough. I thought in Hobart it was cold. It was a new experience dealing with the weather on the East Coast.”
Barker has enjoyed the support of his parents throughout his career as they have dished out their support for him each in their own way. “My Mum has always been there to support me. She has always pushed me to the best I can be. She makes sure I’m motivated to have a better game on the next time out if I have a bad game.”
Barker also spoke of his Dad’s influence, explaining that he was the person who helped teach him the game, “My Dad, he’s the one who taught me how to shoot properly in the backyard. How to be a good teammate and things like that.”
Before committing to a school, Barker went on record with what he was looking for in terms of universities. “In a college I really want somewhere with a good team culture, and where everyone wants to win. I don’t really care about individual stats, I want to win. I want to experience the NCAA Tournament too. Academically, I want to get a degree that matters, so I can finish basketball and step right into a job that will help me with the rest of my life.”
Along the way, and especially en route to his next stop at Bradley, Barker has enjoyed the services of LivOn Basketball and Randy Livingston. “I’m very fortunate to have Randy in Hobart. Before adidas Nations, Randy got me in game shape and worked with me to prepare to play against the best players in the world. adidas Nations was one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had as a player. You get a lot of gear, and the player’s lounge is pretty cool too. Basically, you have all you want for a week and a half at Adidas Nations,” Barker concluded.