Future Wolverine Caleb Houstan has been showcasing his talents with Team Canada at the U19 World Cup in Latvia, as he hopes to lead his teammates to a win in the Final with the round of 16 starting today.
Over the three games of group play, Houstan has led Team Canada to a 3-0 record, averaging 13.3 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 2 steals in each contest.
The five-star recruit was far from perfect over these three games, but his consistent play as Canada’s go-to guy showed Michigan fans what they can expect when he arrives in Ann Arbor.
Houstan will be projected to start for the Wolverines as the small forward, and while he’ll have big shoes to fill in the absence of Isaiah Livers, Houstan showcased how he could be even better than Livers in this World Cup.
The game against Lithuania a few days ago was Houstan’s best statistically, as he not only racked up 18 points to go with five boards, three assists and two steals, but he also had the ball in his hands in the final few minutes and finished at the cup to ice the game for Canada.
In the highlights above, Houstan showed that he can be a matchup nightmare, scoring on catch-and-shoot threes from NBA range, curling off screens and capitalizing on transition opportunities.
I love the confidence he showcased in the game against Senegal, as he proved he’s not afraid to run the break and pull up for threes in transition while the defense is scrambling.
He doesn’t shy away from contact in the slightest, showing off his creative finish and his ability to finish with both hands.
He’s an active offensive rebounder, always following his own misses and scoring easy buckets after the first shot.
He also has excellent vision in the pick-and-roll, as Hunter Dickinson should love watching him find the big man for thunderous dunks.
Houstan still has room to improve as the World Cup goes on. He’s averaging three turnovers and was not super efficient from the field, shooting 44 percent on 2s and 17.2 percent on 3s.
The incoming freshman will likely not have the same workload with Michigan as he does with Team Canada, as it should be interesting to see how he gets his footing with the Wolverines.
I expect him to start the season out as the third or fourth offensive option. In that role, he can still take over the game in short spurts while capitalizing on more catch-and-shoot threes, as college defenses can’t focus on him as much as FIBA defenses thanks to the scoring capabilities of Dickinson, DeVante’ Jones and Eli Brooks.
Houstan still has room to grow, and it should be interesting to see how he plays in more intense tournament play. But based on the small sample size we’ve already seen, Michigan fans have a lot to be excited about out when Houstan gets on campus.