The NBA dream has become a reality for Caleb Houston. After one year with the Michigan Wolverines, Houston has been drafted 32nd overall by the Orlando Magic.
In his lone year at Ann Arbor, Houston started all 34 games, averaging 10.1 points, 4.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game. He shot 38.4% from the field, 35.5% from three-point range and 78.3% from the free throw line.
Houston was one of the most highly-decorated recruits to come to Michigan. He was the highest ranked recruit to come to Michigan since Glenn Robinson III in 2012 and headlined a Michigan class that included three McDonald’s All-Americans in him, Moussa Diabate and Kobe Bufkin.
The freshman forward didn’t meet the expectations of Michigan fans, but he showed his true potential as a scorer with Team Canada at the U19 World Cup last summer, where Houston averaged 17 points and nearly six rebounds per game while helping Canada win a bronze medal.
In those games, Houston was not just a three-point shooter; he was a lead ball-handler and playmaker who was counted on to hit big shots in the last few minutes of contests. Unfortunately, he never played that role with Michigan.
There were some games where he was able to take over, like the win against Maryland or the road win over Indiana where he was cashing threes and looked like Michigan’s best player. But there were other times, like in the NCAA Tournament win over Colorado State, where you would forget he was even out there.
Watching his body language, you could tell he struggled confidence-wise all year long; if he missed his first few shots or got blocked, he wouldn’t necessarily stop shooting threes, but he definitely got a lot less aggressive.
In order to reach his full potential in the NBA, he also needs to improve his foot speed on both ends and get more consistent finishing around the rim.
Nevertheless, you saw it in flashes, but he can be an excellent scorer in the NBA. At his absolute floor, if he buys in on the defensive side of the floor, he could be a 3-and-D guy that can play a role on any playoff team. At his ceiling, he could grow into a multi-level scorer who would be counted on late in games.
With the Magic, Caleb Houston gets the chance to grow with a lot of young talent, including No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero and former Gonzaga standout Jalen Suggs. Houston is the fourth Wolverine on the Magic’s roster, joining Franz Wagner, Mo Wagner and Iggy Brazdeikis.
Orlando doesn’t have much of a clear cut rotation, so hopefully Houston can get thrown into the fire and play a lot of minutes in his rookie year. I’m sure Michigan fans would love to see him and Franz knock down threes in those beautiful pinstripe jerseys.
We at Maize n Brew wish him the best of luck, and we’ll be sure to keep tabs on him throughout his professional career.