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Early 2022 NBA Mock Draft has Caleb Houstan as No. 5 overall prospect

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City Of Palms Classic Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

It was another notable night in the history of Michigan Wolverines men’s basketball during the 2021 NBA Draft. Sophomore wing Franz Wagner came off the board to the Orlando Magic with the No. 8 overall pick, while senior forward Isaiah Livers was selected by the Detroit Pistons at No. 42.

Chaundee Brown and Mike Smith found opportunities later on in the night after going undrafted with the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks, respectively. All four Wolverines in the draft found a home by the end of the night.

Now, all eyes turn to the 2022 NBA Draft process for talent evaluators. The day after the draft is always full of new mock drafts and big boards ahead of next year’s event. Michigan should be in line to have another big night when next summer rolls around, headlined by the five-star prospect and projected lottery pick Caleb Houstan.

SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell put out his 2022 mock draft on Friday morning, where the incoming freshman comes in as his No. 5 prospect.

5. Caleb Houstan, F, Michigan

Michigan has some big shoes to fill at forward this upcoming season with the loss of Franz Wagner and Isaiah Livers to the pro ranks, and it’s hard to imagine a better freshman for the job than Caleb Houstan. The 6’8 Canadian wing is the latest lottery prospect from Florida prep powerhouse Montverde Academy, and offers a clean projection into any level of the game because of his skill as a shooter and perimeter defender.

Houstan is coming off a starring role for bronze medal-winning Canadian team in the FIBA U19 World Cup where he averaged 17 points and 2.3 steals per game. While Houston only hit 11-of-58 attempts from three, the volume of his attempts from deep (8.3 per game) was impressive and you can bet the percentage will be more respectable in Ann Arbor. In a class full of tall shooters, Houstan separates himself on the defensive end. He’s great at getting into the passing lanes as a help defender, and shows impressive ability on the perimeter. How much Houstan can create with the ball in his hands will be a main factor to see if he can break into the top-five.

Houstan coming off the board in the top five would make him Michigan’s highest-drafted player since Robert Traylor in 1998, so there would be some historical significance there. His head coach, Juwan Howard, was the No. 5 overall pick in 1994.

As O’Donnell writes, Houstan should slide seamlessly into Michigan’s starting lineup as a replacement for Livers next season. He headlines an incoming class that ranks No. 1 in the country with fellow five-star Moussa Diabate, four-stars Kobe Bufkin, Frankie Collins and Isaiah Barnes and three-star forward Will Tschetter.