The Wolverine

August 2021

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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AUGUST 2021 THE WOLVERINE 33   MICHIGAN BASKETBALL "That's the main thing I'm focused on. I know everything else will take care of itself. I have a great group of guys that believe in me, so they're going to make it very easy for me." — Chris Balas CALEB HOUSTAN'S 2022 DRAFT STOCK RISES AT FIBA U19 WORLD CUP While Caleb Houstan's stellar play in leading Team Canada to a bronze medal at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Latvia in July was just a precursor to his freshman season for the Michigan Wolverines, it wasn't insignificant. Plenty of top NBA players have en- joyed strong showings at the event, and that has typically translated to high-level performance in both col- lege and the pros. "The FIBA Under-19 World Cup — occurring every other year since 2007 — has produced 55 first-round picks in seven tournaments, making it one of the most important dates on the NBA scouting calendar,"'s Jonathan Givony wrote. "Nikola Jokic, Stephen Curry, Jayson Tatum, Klay Thompson, Gordon Hayward, Bogdan Bogdanovic and RJ Barrett are just a handful of the names who have participated. "The top five players currently projected to be picked atop our latest 2021 NBA mock draft — Cade Cun- ningham, Jalen Green, Evan Mobley, Jalen Suggs and Scottie Barnes — all represented the U.S. in 2019, and the team will add more distinguished alumni to this event's impressive list of lottery picks in two weeks." A new crop is up next, and will likely be at the top of draft boards come next summer (2022). Houstan is among that group, along with No. 1 2021 recruit Chet Holmgren (Gon- zaga), second-year Purdue guard Jaden Ivey and others. Houstan led Team Canada with 17.0 points per game in seven con- tests, with six double-figure scoring outputs, including a pair of 20-plus point performances: 25 in a win over Spain (July 9) and 23 against the United States (July 10). He was sec- ond on the squad with 5.7 rebounds a game, while registering 17 assists (2.4 per game) and 16 steals (2.3 per game) in his seven starts. Houstan's 17 points in the bronze medal game led the way for his squad, putting a bow on what was an impressive showing for the five-star U-M freshman at the event. Now, Givony has pegged Houstan as one of several "college stars we'll be talking about at next year's NBA Draft." "Houstan had an outstanding tour- nament, leading Canada to a bronze medal and showcasing an all-around game that should make him one of the best two-way players in college basketball as a freshman," Givony wrote. "Known as a spot-up shooter earlier in his career, Houstan strug- gled badly with his jumper (11 of 58 from three, 19 percent) in Latvia, but showed impressive versatility as a ball handler, passer and finisher, at- tacking the rim relentlessly, playing through contact, extending grace- fully for layups with both hands around the basket and coming up huge for Canada late in games on several occasions." It wasn't just Houstan's play on of- fense that impressed. "Houstan was also one of the most impactful defenders at the tourna- ment, demonstrating elite awareness off the ball as well as the ability to get up and guard smaller players with his quick feet and tough-minded ap- proach," Givony wrote. "Houstan's shooting percentages will likely look better in a more compact role at Michigan, and NBA teams will surely be attracted to the versatility he brings on the wing as well as his cerebral approach. He made a case to be considered a po- tential top-five pick next year." Givony projected Houstan to go off the board at No. 9 overall in his latest 'too early' 2022 mock draft, but that was back in May. It appears his stock is continuing to rise. — Clayton Sayfie MICHIGAN'S 2021-22 NON- CONFERENCE SCHEDULE BEGINNING TO TAKE SHAPE While Michigan doesn't have its full non-conference schedule yet, the picture is becoming more and more clear, with several updates having been recently announced. The college basketball season be- gins Nov. 9, but U-M's first sched- uled game of the year will reportedly take place Nov. 13 against Prairie View A&M in Washington, D.C., be- fore the Wolverines participate in the Gavitt Tipoff Games (Nov. 16 vs. Se- ton Hall) and travel to Las Vegas for the MGM Resorts Main Event. At the latter, they will take on UNLV Nov. 19 and either Arizona or Wichita State Nov. 21. U-M is then set to travel to North Carolina Dec. 1 for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, before returning to host Kentucky Dec. 4 at Crisler Center. The Wolverines will play two Big Ten games during mid-December, but those matchups and locations are still to be announced. Michi- gan's next scheduled game is against Southern Utah at home Dec. 18. "They are a premier program that will be ranked in the preseason top 10 and contend for a national title," Southern Utah head coach Todd Si- mon said of U-M in a release. There are also some games where the opponent is known, but the date is not. The Wolverines will travel to play UCF, a return game after last year 's contest at Crisler. The Maize and Blue will also head to Oregon for a game that was canceled last season. At the beginning of January, Michi- gan will re-enter Big Ten play for the remaining 18 conference games. — Clayton Sayfie ESPN expert Jonathan Givony said Houstan "made a case to be considered a potential top-five pick next year," after he led bronze- medal-winning Team Canada with 17.0 points per game at the FIBA U19 World Cup. PHOTO COURTESY THE HOUSTAN FAMILY

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