Michigan head coach Juwan Howard landed the highest ranked Michigan commit since 2000 when Montverde (Fla.) Academy five-star SF Caleb Houstan issued his pledge to Michigan earlier today.
"I was down to four great schools, but one definitely stood out to me the most," Houstan told ESPN. "I decided to commit to coach Juwan Howard and the University of Michigan. I was recruited by a lot of great schools, and I appreciate all the time they all spent with me and my family."
Houstan, who is listed as 6-8 and 205 pounds, ranks as the No. 8 player in the country according to 247Sports.com. With Houstan in the fold, the Wolverines now have the 1 class in not only the Big Ten but the entire country.
"I expect to be a key part of their offense," Houstan said. "They need me to step in right away and be a big contributor, and I want to do that. I want to be able to show who I am as a player and have [an] impact right away."
The addition of Houstan helps round out an already impressive recruiting class for Coach Howard with Kobe Bufkin, Frankie Collins, Isaiah Barnes and Will Tschetter already on board, U-M has three players ranked in the top 75 overall (Houstan, Collins and Bufkin).
From a larger perspective, Michigan now has the No. 1 overall recruiting class in the country for the 2021 cycle. Coach Howard was lauded as a relatable coach that prospects could bond with from a recruiting perspective, but his immediate success in that category is a pleasant surprise for the Michigan faithful.
"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 both on and off the court and in preparing to get to the next level. I know he's going to push me every single day in order for me to get better and develop as a player."
Before attending school in Florida, Houstan lived in Canada and he actually grew up as a Michigan fan according to multiple outlets. Houstan attended a couple basketball camps at Michigan growing up, so he’s already familiar with Ann Arbor and that likely played somewhat of a factor in his decision.
Last year, Howard landed the No. 15 class with four commits, but this year will be the U-M head coach’s first full cycle at the helm of the basketball program, and he's already producing immediate results in the recruiting realm.
Given that this is expected to be the last season that Michigan will have either Isaiah Livers or Franz Wagner on the court, finding another tall, athletic wing player that can fill into that role is of pinnacle importance. That task has been accomplished in full with the addition of Houstan to U-M's 2021 class.
In addition to the injection of talent and natural shooting ability that Houstan will provide, he is quite familiar with Michigan point guard Zeb Jackson as the two were former teammates. Current U-M guard Mike Smith recently mentioned that Jackson is poised to take over a starting role next season, so he has impressed in camp as of late and should be a reliable, ball-handling compliment to Houstan next year.
Former Michigan basketball player Ant Wright breaks down film of U-M targets and other various prospects on a regular basis, and Wright did the same for Houstan just weeks ago. Here is what he sees from the smooth-shooting small forward:
On tape, Houstan looks like a smooth player with a diverse offensive game. When called upon, he can put the ball on the floor and drive to the hoop, using his length to get to the rim in a variety of ways. When hanging out on the wing, Houstan can also get his shot up and has a reliable, repeatable stroke, one that has led to a high shooting percentage from long range.
What do you think of Coach Howard’s success on the recruiting trail so far? When will it translate to success on the court for Michigan? Let us know!