Thursday, March 23 2023

ORLANDO, Fla. — Caleb Houstan and the Orlando Magic have had a limited training camp, but the 32nd pick is already impressing the coaching staff and players in the early going.

The Magic were forced to cancel two days of practice this week due to Hurricane Ian. The situation put Houstan and fellow rookie Paolo Banchero a bit behind schedule but the two seemingly haven’t missed a beat and have had a smooth transition.

Many of the players on the team linked up over the summer and were able to play pickup games together. Houstan used the offseason as an opportunity to work on his game, and the results have shown through the first three days of training camp.

Magic guard Cole Anthony spoke very highly of Houstan.

I think Caleb is going to be awesome. I really am a fan of him. I can see he is in the gym a lot, works hard and is a high-IQ kid. Obviously, he comes from Michigan so that is to be expected. He can really shoot the basketball and is a willing learner and listener; I’ve been able to talk to him a good amount.

He shoots the ball at an elite level. He kind of reminds me of Franz (Wagner) when Franz first came in. He moves really well without the basketball, is a high IQ player and he is young, too. I think the kid has a really bright future and is very smart.

The Magic were quite ecstatic to add Houstan to the roster through the draft. They rave about his basketball IQ and character on and off of the court. The team is certainly headlined by the No. 1 pick in Banchero but it was just as excited Houstan was available at 32.

Teams often tinker with lineups in training camp to see what combinations work. The Magic are very much trying out different looks up and down the lineup and Houstan has seemingly impressed each time he steps onto the court.

Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley explained how Houstan has stood out.

The great part about Caleb is that he has got a very high basketball IQ and an unbelievable work ethic. He finds himself in the right spacing on offense and, defensively, finds himself in the right spots. Those are two very good qualities that he possesses. The role we’re going to ask of him is to be that knockdown shooter, positional defender and just make the simple and right plays.

Houstan knows the upcoming season will present its fair share of challenges as a first-year player. With so many players ahead of him on the depth chart, playing time could be sporadic but the 19-year-old is prepared to work through any adversity that comes to him.

I just try to come in every day and get better, work hard and listen to the coaches as well as the players and just kind of vibe with the teammates and stuff like that. It has been real good to be around the guys and have them embrace me, for sure.

Orlando has a few more practices before tipping off its preseason schedule Monday in Memphis. The upcoming slate of games could be a great chance for Houstan to make a name for himself, but it seems as though he has already started doing that.


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