Caleb Houstan, the No. 3 prospect in the ESPN class of 2022 recruiting rankings, will graduate from high school early and reclassify to 2021, he told ESPN on Friday. Houstan will now be eligible to enroll in college next summer, and he will have the option to enter the 2022 NBA draft.
"I feel like I'm ready to take the next step," Houstan told ESPN. "Being at Montverde and playing for Team Canada at the FIBA level has helped prepare me for that. The best decision for me is to go to college in 2021. That will help me get to next level and eventually where I want to go, which is the NBA."
Houstan will immediately become one of the most highly sought-after players in the 2021 class, which has lost several top prospects to reclassification to 2020 this summer. He has good positional size for a small forward at 6-foot-8 with a versatile offensive skill set, being considered one of the best perimeter shooters in his class. He was the second-leading scorer at last summer's FIBA Americas U16 Championship, averaging 23 points in just 29 minutes per game, ranking among the top players at the event in both made 3-pointers and free throw attempts. Canada went 5-1, losing in the championship game to the United States.
"That was a big confidence booster for me, being able to go and lead my team. Playing for your country brings a lot of pride. I think I really got to show my versatility there, that I can score at all levels and guard multiple positions. That helped me last year at Montverde."
Houstan had a busy spring and summer planned, as he was slated to be a featured player on the Nike EYBL AAU circuit with team UPlay Canada before suiting up again for the Canadian national team at both the U17 World Cup and U18 FIBA Americas Championship in June and July. The pandemic caused all of those events to be canceled, which Houstan says he's trying to take an optimistic view on.
"A lot has been taken away, but I try and look on the bright side," Houstan said. "This is not the best situation for the world as a whole, but for me personally it's been great to spend time with my family. It's the longest I've been home in years. It's given me a chance to get in the gym and work on my game. That can be a benefit. At first I was just playing outside on my driveway, but as the situation in Canada has improved I've been able to work out six days per week, and then on Saturdays we have some very competitive runs."
Houstan has played up in competition consistently throughout his career, making his debut as the youngest player in the Nike EYBL 17U back in the spring of 2018 as an eighth grader, and then again as a 15-year-old at the FIBA U17 World Cup in Argentina. He joined famed Montverde Academy in Florida immediately after, where he was originally slated to spend all four years of high school before electing to reclassify and skip his final year, which he says played a major role in preparing him to make the jump to the college ranks early.
"Playing with older guys has helped me a lot in terms of getting used to the physicality as well as my knowledge of the game. That's helped let me know where I stand and what I need to work on. This year I'm expecting to play a bigger role at Montverde in terms of being a leader on and off the court and showing my versatility and all the different pieces of my game."
In terms of his recruitment, Houstan says he holds scholarship offers from 14 schools and is still "wide open," and "early in the process." He says he does not have a time frame for a college decision, as he has not been able to take official visits or host coaches for in-home visits due to the pandemic.
"I'm not sure if that pushes back the timetable or not yet. Schools have been finding different ways with virtual visits, a lot of stuff on Zoom. I've been able to see what schools are about with the playing style. When I feel like I've found the right fit, the right place for me, I'll make my decision."
Houstan says he currently holds scholarship offers from Duke, Gonzaga, North Carolina, Michigan, Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Texas Tech, Maryland and Seton Hall.