Houstan is the No.10 ranked player in the 2021 high school class, making him Michigan’s top-ranked rookie since at least 2007, the first year of the ESPN recruiting database.
At 6-foot-8, Houstan has an excellent height for a small forward with a versatile offensive skill set and is considered one of the best perimeter shooters in the game in high school. He was the second-highest scorer in the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, averaging 23 points in 29 minutes per game and ranking among the best players of the event in 3 points and free throw attempts. His Canadian team went 5-1, losing in the championship game against the United States.
“Michigan really showed that they wanted me and that I was going to be a key part of their schedule,” said Houstan. “They’ve been invested in me as a player and really took the time to learn about my game. They run a system where I know I can do well. I have also developed excellent relationships with their coaching staff. Coach Howard led my recruiting and was involved throughout the process; Coach [Saddi] Washington too and Coach [Phil] Martelli was also very good. ”
Houstan was due to finish high school in 2022, but chose to reclassify over the summer, making him eligible for the 2022 NBA Draft. Houstan said Howard’s background as an NBA player and an assistant coach with the Miami Heat had been a factor in his decision.
“Coach Howard was a big part of my decision – his background and our relationship,” Houstan said. “He played in the NBA for 19 years and knows what it takes to get there and stay there. I think he can help me on and off the pitch and prepare me to take me to the next level. I know he will push me every day to improve and develop as a player. ”
Michigan is building what appears to be a Top 10 recruiting class in 2021, having previously nabbed three four-star rookies at Frankie Collins, Kobe Bufkin and Isaiah Barnes. Houstan will likely play a big role on the wing, should runner-up Franz Wagner, a potential first-round pick and 6-9 sniper who can play either front position, return.
“I expect to be a key part of their attack,” Houstan said. “They need me to jump in right now and be a big contributor, and I want to. I want to be able to show who I am as a player and have [an] impact right away. ”
Houstan had forecast a busy spring and summer before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. He was scheduled to be a star player on the Nike EYBL AAU circuit with the UPlay Canada team before moving again for the Canadian national team to the U17 World Cup and the FIBA U18 Americas Championship in June and July.
UPlay CEO and founder Dwayne Washington has worked with Houstan throughout the pandemic and said people would have seen a different part of his game if the EYBL hadn’t been canceled.
After taking over in front of a host of top rookies at Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, Day’Ron Sharpe and Moses Moody in sophomores at Montverde Academy in Florida last season, Houstan is likely to become a top player. in a team that some still consider to be the most talented in high school basketball.
Houstan will be a candidate for invitations to all of the high school’s all-star spring events – McDonald’s, Nike Hoop Summit, and Jordan Brand Classic – if those continue after a hiatus in April. This would allow Houstan and his classmates to gain some of the visibility they missed by not playing in EYBL or FIBA this summer.
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analysis service used by the NBA, NCAA and international teams.