The Wolverine

February 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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56 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2021 BY CHRIS BALAS M ichigan's 2021 class remains's top-ranked group after the revised rankings came out in early January, with all six signees moving up — some with a bullet. Wing Caleb Houstan (6-8, 200 pounds) of Montverde (Fla.) Acad- emy remains the Wolverines' top- rated player, moving up three spots from No. 11 to No. 8, and he has played exceptionally well in the early going. "Saying things are good in Ann Arbor feels like a bit of an under- statement these days," national basketball recruiting analyst Rob Cassidy said. "Not only does third-year head coach Juwan How- ard have the Wolverines [13-1] on the season, he also is the architect of the country's top recruiting class. Things certainly seem to be snowballing in a positive direction on every front, as Howard has announced himself as a certified recruiting force. "The six-member class Howard has assembled is headlined by five-star forward Caleb Houstan, who ranks eighth in the class and is the highest- ranked prospect to sign with Michi- gan since Glenn Robinson III in 2012 [who was listed No. 11]. The depth of the haul, however, is what sets the Wolverines apart. Four-star pros- pects Moussa Diabate, Frankie Col- lins, Kobe Bufkin and Isaiah Barnes give Howard an incredible base for his future roster, so it appears U-M isn't going anywhere as a power on the conference or national level." Houstan's Montverde team played Diabate's Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Acad- emy squad Jan. 17 on national televi- sion, and Houstan was the player who stood out. The smooth shooter's 72 percent effective field goal per- centage (a statistic that accounts for the fact that a three-point field goal is worth more than a two-point field goal) going in was eye-opening for a player who generally scores outside. He put up 16 points on only six shots in a win, and his huge triple with four minutes remaining stopped an IMG run and pushed the Montverde lead back to six points. Houstan also went to the free throw line 11 times, making eight. On the other end, IMG's Diabate (6-9, 190) didn't score a lot, miss- ing most of his jumpers, but he had some rim-rattling dunks and stood out with his athleticism, especially as a rim protector. He's raw, however, and needs work on the offensive end. His quickness and footwork, though, should allow him to guard a number of positions on defense, and he'll be an asset immediately on that end. Diabate moved up three spots from No. 29 to No. 26. Palmetto Preps' Ja- mie Shaw saw him play in a game in South Carolina in late December and came away impressed. "Intimidation has nothing really to do with skill," he wrote. "I take that back; perhaps intimidation is a skill in itself. It is certainly something that you take on the floor with you, and it can affect winning in a big way. But to step on the floor and have your opponents innately have a concern that you may embarrass them, that is a real thing. "On this night, that player was Michigan signee Moussa Diabate. Diabate walks on the floor, and he moves with a different cadence. When he jumps, when he runs, he just oozes talent at a different level than his peers. On the floor, Diabate plays with a relentless motor — you see his long arms swinging from his broad shoulders. BASKETBALL RECRUITING All Six Of U-M's No. 1-Rated Class Of 2021 Signees Move Up In The Rankings rates Michigan commit Caleb Houstan — a 6-8, 200-pound wing from Montverde (Fla.) Academy — as the No. 8 overall prospect in the class of 2021, up three spots from his previous ranking. PHOTO COURTESY THE HOUSTAN FAMILY

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