Cam Whitmore’s professional basketball career is set to commence in Houston after a prolonged delay. Although Whitmore was initially projected to be among the top 10 picks, he dropped down the draft rankings. The 6-foot-7 wing’s name was eventually called out during the 2023 NBA Draft on Thursday night in Brooklyn, where he was selected as the 20th overall pick.
Whitmore didn’t play in the first seven games of the 2022-23 season but was able to achieve an average of 12.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game during his time on the Main Line, earning him the title of Big East Freshman of the Year. He is the first true one-and-done player for Villanova since Tim Thomas in 1997 and the latest first-round draft pick for the Wildcats since Saddiq Bey was picked by the Detroit Pistons in 2020.
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In the past ten years, Villanova had nine players drafted and five of them were picked in the first round prior to Whitmore. Whitmore’s performance at the NBA Draft Combine was impressive and his measurements were in line with the expectations. He recorded a maximum vertical leap of 40.5 inches and demonstrated excellent speed and agility during the tests. Additionally, since he is only 18 years old, the Rockets have the opportunity to shape him according to their needs.
Despite possessing the physical attributes and potential to play in the NBA, Whitmore’s individual team workouts and interviews left some teams wanting more. His health, intensity, and practice performance were questioned leading up to the draft, which ultimately resulted in a greater drop in his draft position than anticipated. However, Whitmore can now move past this setback as he embarks on his NBA journey with the Houston Rockets. The Rockets are a young team, having gone 22-60 last season, and possess promising talent in Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr.