Michigan's Caleb Houstan, Moussa Diabate taken in second round of NBA Draft

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Caleb Houstan’s and Moussa Diabate’s basketball journeys have taken them from Canada and France, respectively, to Florida to Ann Arbor.

Next stop: Orlando and Los Angeles.

Houstan was selected by the Magic with the second pick of the second round — No. 32 overall — and Diabate went to the Clippers at No. 43 in Thursday’s NBA Draft, becoming the first one-and-done players to be drafted during coach Juwan Howard’s tenure.

Michigan forward Caleb Houstan (22) was selected early in the second round of Thursday's NBA Draft.

The selections mark the eighth draft in 10 years that a Wolverine has had his name called. Houstan and Diabate are Michigan's 13th and 14th draft picks over that span, joining a group that includes international players like Ontario’s Nik Stauskas (No. 8 overall in 2014) and Ignas Brazdeikis (No. 47 in 2019) and Germany’s Moritz Wagner (No. 25 in 2018) and Franz Wagner (No. 8 in 2021).

Thursday also marked the third time in four years and 16th time in program history that Michigan has had multiple Wolverines taken in the same draft.

Houstan and Diabate, former five-star recruits who played at Florida prep powerhouses Montverde Academy and IMG Academy, were two of the four Wolverines to declare for this year’s draft. They were joined by guards Eli Brooks and DeVante’ Jones, who both went undrafted.

Houstan, 19, was on the one-and-done radar before he played a game with the Wolverines. He built a reputation as a sharpshooter with a smooth stroke and arrived at Michigan as the program’s highest-rated prospect in the modern recruit rankings era.

He didn’t quite live up to the lofty expectations during an inconsistent, underwhelming freshman campaign. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 10.1 points, four rebounds and 1.4 assists per game as a full-time starter and scored in double figures 17 times in 34 contests, posting as many 20-point performances (two) as scoreless outings.

Houstan made a team-high 60 3-pointers while shooting 35.5% from deep. He overcame a rough first couple months from beyond the arc by hitting at a 39.6% clip over the final 20 games, though his season shooting numbers were much better at home (47.7%) than on the road (29%) or at neutral sites (26.2%).

Still, Houstan’s size and perimeter shooting could help him stick in the NBA, where he’ll look to develop his game and reach his full potential with the Magic, who selected Duke forward Paolo Banchero with the No. 1 pick.

In Orlando, Houstan will also team up with the Wagner brothers as well as Brazdeikis. 

"Caleb Houstan is a shooter. He's got shooting ability, but he was streaky (at Michigan)," ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas said. "There are questions of whether he can create on his own, but he can stretch the floor and knock down shots.

"He's not a big-time rebounder yet. He's drafted for his shooting ability. … This is another upside pick. With time, Caleb Houstan, I think, is going to be a good NBA player."

Michigan forward Moussa Diabate (14) was projected to go undrafted in most major mock drafts. Instead, he heard his name called in the middle of the second round.

Diabate, 20, began his lone season in Ann Arbor on the bench before quickly working his way into the starting lineup. He was named to the All-Big Ten freshman team after averaging nine points and six rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game.

He earned an invite to the NBA Combine, where he led all big men in most agility tests and posted a double-double in one of the scrimmages. Diabate said his focus at the pre-draft event was to show off his defensive versatility and the potential in his jump shot, something that limited him offensively.

Despite his athleticism, raw talent and coveted physical traits, the 6-11 forward from Paris was far from a sure thing to be drafted. Diabate was projected to go undrafted in two-round mock drafts by Bleacher Report, ESPN, Sports Illustrated and The Athletic, given he was viewed as a project player.

"(Diabate) is an upside pick for a Clippers team that's been known for focusing on player development," ESPN draft analyst Bobby Marks said. "We're looking at a player that's likely going to be tagged with a two-way contract, focus on development and then down the road be a piece for the future."

Per Spotrac, last year’s No. 32 pick received a four-year, $7.8 million contract with $4 million guaranteed while the No. 43 pick inked a three-year, $4.3 million deal with $2.4 million guaranteed.


Twitter: @jamesbhawkins