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Idaho Vandals look to guards Perrion Callandret, Victor Sanders

Idaho junior guard Victor Sanders, left, and senior guard Perrion Callandret are being counted on this season to be the leaders. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Idaho junior guard Victor Sanders, left, and senior guard Perrion Callandret are being counted on this season to be the leaders. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

MOSCOW, Idaho – Perrion Callandret sometimes looks down at his jersey on the court and remembers. He remembers how blessed he was to play with his half-brother as a freshman, despite the fact that he was 18 and Glen Dean was 24. During that one season they were together at the University of Idaho, in 2013-14, Dean’s jersey number was No. 1. Callandret, now a senior point guard for the Vandals, wears the same number and scans the stands to find his brother and mother, Judi Sinclair, watching him with pride.

They aren’t the only ones.

Callandret’s story is also personal for UI assistant coach Kirk Earlywine, and for good reason.

Four years ago this fall, Earlywine helped convince Callandret to sign with the Vandals out of Bothell (Washington) High School. The next spring, he helped bring Dean to Idaho as a graduate transfer from the University of Utah.

Earlywine still remembers the first practice with Callandret and Dean on the same floor. But the coach’s connection to the brothers from the Seattle area goes back longer than that.

“It seems like yesterday to me that Glen was a freshman at Eastern,” Earlywine said, “even though that’s been a number of years now.”

It was seven years ago, in fact, that Earlywine – then the head coach at Eastern Washington – heard about Dean and got to know Sinclair. He brought Dean to Eastern after an Eagles player who was friends with the mature but fiery point guard recommended that Earlywine look into him.

EWU fired Earlywine in 2011, which prompted Dean to transfer to Utah before the next season. The two stayed in contact, and it made sense for Dean to consider UI as a graduate transfer – especially since his brother had already committed to the Vandals.

“The relationship I had with their mother,” Earlywine said, “I think was definitely a factor in Perrion signing with us that fall and then the following spring Glen graduating at Utah and having that fifth-year option that so many guys are taking advantage of now.

“… There’s no question that it was all intertwined.”

Callandret is now focused on winning a Big Sky Conference title in his last year in Moscow. He and Victor Sanders form one of the best backcourts in the Big Sky, something they proved last year before (and somewhat after) both got hurt in January.

Callandret suffered a Lisfranc injury of his right foot and missed nine games. Sanders broke his hand and missed seven games.

While Sanders came back healthy in mid-February, Callandret returned a few days after his backcourt mate but “wasn’t right,” Earlywine said. It took until two weeks after the Vandals’ summer trip to China for Callandret to consider himself all the way recovered – both physically and mentally.

“Last year, when I came back, it was in the back of my head,” Callandret said. “But … I just never played fully healthy.”

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound floor leader averaged 14 points in 25 games last season, just behind Sanders (15.9 ppg) for second on the team. Nonetheless, coach Don Verlin wants Callandret to be a pass-first point guard.

“He’s got to run our team,” Verlin said.

UI coaches also expect Callandret and Sanders to become more vocal leaders to fill a void left by Chris Sarbaugh, a Spokane native who made a strong impact last year as a graduate transfer point guard.

Callandret has been more inclined to lead through his work ethic than his voice, Earlywine said. “But as a senior and more importantly as a point guard, it’s really important that he also lead verbally.”

Which sounds good to Callandret.

“If I can be half as good a leader as (Sarbaugh), I think I’ll be (on) the right path,” Callandret said. “And if Vic can do the same thing, then we come together and I think we’ll have a Chris Sarbaugh out there in the leader section.”


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