WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Let’s talk about the big man. Trey Kalina is a long way from where he was born in Texas. Now you know what they say, everything is bigger in Texas, and that’s exactly why he’s playing in Wilmington now.
“I didn’t know much about UNCW when I was recruited until I went to a jamboree. Coach McGrath was there looking for a big and he said I was the best big there. He wanted me to come visit and when I did, I loved it here.”
Of course he did, what’s not to love? UNCW has had back-to-back conference championship seasons, it had a need for a big-man with the departure of Chuck Ogbodo and of course a staff featuring Joe Wolf who is in charge of working with the big men.
“He’s not like any other coach I’ve ever had before, so it’s really different. He really knows how to teach the game, position and tricks of the trade. I believe what he’s teaching us 100%.”
This entire staff has been working with Trey and this team all season and you are seeing the work paying off. Both on and off the court.
“I like to think that we’re one big family. We always see what’s good with each other and where we like to go eat. We eat as a team and I think we’re pretty cool.”
As is the case with many basketball teams, there are a lot of tall guys on UNCW. So when Trey is out with his teammates the 7-footer quickly becomes a focus of attention amongst everyone else.
“I guess I’m just used to it now. I’ll walk with some people on campus and everyone wonders why is everyone staring at you? I just don’t even notice it anymore.”
Being tall on the court has contributed to Trey being a force on the boards and working down low against smaller defenders. A headache for anyone trying to defend the Seahawks. Off the court, it still contributes to headaches, but for Trey.
“I’ll hit my head on doorways and stuff. I mostly duck through them but if I have a hat on, it’s hard to see the little hinges and I’ll hit myself. So if you see me on campus and I hit my head on doors, don’t say anything about it.”
We won’t talk about the low doorways at UNCW, but we will talk about what Trey brings to this team.
While UNCW is a fast paced team, traditionally a challenge for big men, Trey puts the work in at practice to get himself ready for game day. In order to be ready, he does one thing.
“I just try to keep up with Devontae. If I do that, I’m doing good. That’s what I aim for.”
Having a player like Devontae Cacok is as much a curse for other teams as it is a blessing for UNCW. Not only does he provide a force in games, he pushes his teammates to make them better, just like he does with Trey.
“Practicing against him everyday, I’ve played against a lot of guys like him, but none with the athletic ability. He’s really athletic so I have to box him out every play. That just creates good habits for me.”
The more good habits that Trey can create, the better he will become and the more wins UNCW will get.