Magic rookie Caleb Houstan drawing high praise for shooting, rebounding

Magic rookie Caleb Houstan drawing high praise for shooting, rebounding

ORLANDO, Fla. — Down several players, the Orlando Magic relied on a total team effort on Wednesday to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder and continue a recent resurgence in the standings.

No. 1 pick Paolo Banchero led the way with 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Wendell Carter Jr. and Terrance Ross each added 18 points in the 126-115 win. In all, eight players scored in double figures, which tied a team record for a single game.

“I think our guys were great,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “Their ability to share the basketball, understanding what we’ve talked about the whole time — attack the paint, spray out, find the open man and step into your shot with confidence.”

The Magic were down eight players in the contest: Bol Bol (health and safety protocol), Kevon Harris (suspension), Jonathan Isaac (knee), Chuma Okeke (knee), Admiral Schofield (suspension), Jalen Suggs (ankle) and Franz and Moe Wagner (suspension).

That left just nine players available to play in the contest.

With several starters out, Mosley and the Magic opted to start Caleb Houstan. The rookie had started just once this season prior to Wednesday, and was a healthy scratch from the lineup seven times last month. But, with the Magic in need of a spark, Houstan stepped in and recorded 11 points, five rebounds, one assist and one steal for his second game scoring in double figures.

Mosley was proud of the minutes Houstan gave the team.

He is a professional with the way he approaches the game, the way he approaches his craft — first one in, last one out, studying film. He just studies the pace of everything. He knows where he is supposed to be offensively, as well as defensively.

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Houstan also hit three 3s and hauled in three offensive rebounds in 28 minutes of work. He was active on defense and gave the team a tremendous spark. He earned high praise from Banchero afterward.

I don’t know what the stats are but I wouldn’t be surprised if he leads us in offensive rebounds. He might not lead us but I bet you if you did like a per-minute offensive rebound, I’m willing to bet he is No. 1. I give a lot of credit to him for just always crashing (the glass).

Though high praise, Banchero stretched it a little bit too much.

Houstan is averaging 4.5 points and 2.5 rebounds in 26 appearances this season. He is 10th on the team in total offensive rebounds (20) and ninth with 1.5 offensive rebounds per-36 minutes this season. His three boards versus the Thunder tied a season high.

Still, the energy and effort given by Houstan on a given night haven’t gone unnoticed. The extra possessions created by his activity proved very beneficial over the Thunder and enabled the group to post its ninth win in 14 games.

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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire