BROOKLYN - Caleb Houstan, selected 32nd overall by the Orlando Magic in the 2022 NBA Draft, was one of the best high school prospects in the nation a year ago. Only seven players in ESPN’s 2021 high school basketball recruiting database ranked higher than Houstan, who went to nearby Montverde Academy before suiting up for the Michigan Wolverines this past season. Among them were the top three selections in the 2022 NBA Draft – Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, and Jabari Smith Jr. – as well as late lottery pick Jalen Duren and late first rounder Patrick Baldwin Jr.
At 6-foot-8, 205 pounds, Houstan projects to be a quality 3-and-D player in the NBA. While inconsistent as a freshman at Michigan, he had several outstanding performances. In late February, he scored 21 points in back-to-back games against Rutgers and Illinois.
He made some big shots in Michigan’s opening round NCAA Tournament contest against Colorado State. The Wolverines were trailing the entire game before Houstan, who finished with 13 points, got hot. He made three 3-pointers during a two-minute span midway through the second half, including one with 10:30 left that gave Michigan the lead.
Nearly 60 percent of the 19-year-old’s shots at Michigan came from behind the 3-point line. He took 169 threes, making 60 of them (35.5 percent). Quite interesting, he shot it better the deeper out he was. On 3-point attempts shorter than 25 feet out, he shot 33.6 percent, while on attempts longer than 25 feet, he shot 38.7 percent.
Attacking the basket is not something he did much of in college. Only 15 percent of his shot attempts came within four feet of the basket and just 13 percent came in the paint.
But considering the Magic ranked 28th in 3-point percentage last year and haven’t been a good outside shooting team for much of the last decade, they will primarily need him to be a reliable 3-point shooter off the bench.
Not only is he long for a wing, but he moves his feet extremely well laterally. He’s capable of guarding positions one through four. Even though he went scoreless in Michigan’s NCAA Tournament win over Tennessee in the Round of 32, he was terrific defensively. He played a big part in the Vols shooting 41 percent overall and 11 percent from 3-point distance.
From Mississauga, Ontario, Houstan has played on the international stage as well, representing Canada in the 2019 FIBA Americas Under-16 Championship in Brazil and the 2021 FIBA Under-19 World Cup in Latvia. He played extremely well in both of those competitions. In the U16 one, he averaged 22.8 points, second best behind the Dominican Republic’s Jean Montero. Then in the U19 one, he averaged 17.0 points, fourth best in the tournament.