February 15, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Terry Foster

'Catholic Seven' move would benefit Detroit, but resources lacking

Guard Ray McCallum Jr. and the Titans play in relative obscurity because of their conference, the Horizon League. (Elizabeth Conley/Detroit News)

Detroit -- It was a moment for Ray McCallum Jr.

The Titans junior stole a pass against Cleveland State, dribbled the length of the court, and after a highlight-reel dunk, swung like a ringing bell in celebration.

An ESPN moment that would have brought the house down in most college basketball arenas.

But at Calihan Hall, home of the Titans, well, let's just say the building barely shook. In attendance — and it was a generous count by Titans officials — were some 2,056.

Why?

The Titans play in relative obscurity — because of their conference.

Cleveland State?

Valparaiso?

The only name school in the Horizon League is …

Well, it used to be Butler, but the Bulldogs jumped ship to the Atlantic 10.

The solution?

It's time for Detroit to make a push — a big one — to join the proposed Catholic Seven in two years.

The Catholic Seven are the non-football playing schools from the Big East, which is coming apart at the seams and disbanding.

Instead of Wright State, you'd get to see DePaul.

Instead of Valpo, you'll get Georgetown.

Milwaukee? Nope. How about St. John's or Seton Hall or Villanova.

Needing resources

The main issue appears to be money and facilities.

The Titans simply cannot match the selling power of a Georgetown or Marquette when it comes to coaches.

And the facilities?

Former Titans coach Perry Watson once said he toured Marquette's facilities — and was in awe about how nice they were. Detroit simply could not match that.

"It's about resources," Titans coach Ray McCallum Sr. said. "We don't have the resources those people have. That comes into play. I don't want to put out what we don't have, but it is the haves and the have nots."

Still, he believes Detroit is right where it needs to be.

"This is a good fit for us," he said of the Horizon League. "We've done a good job of being competitive and steadily improving and moving up towards the top."

While McCallum has worked tirelessly to improve the nonconference schedule, this year's big draws weren't so big — Drake and Toledo.

But if he could splash, say, Marquette or Georgetown on the Calihan marquee, people might stop and take notice.

One phone call is all it takes to change the Titans.

Forever.

terry.foster@detroitnews.com

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