After a longer-than-initially-expected wait, Cam Whitmore’s professional basketball journey will begin in Houston.
Whitmore, who was initially expected to go in the top 10, slid on draft day. The 6-foot-7 wing finally heard his name when he was chosen 20th overall in the 2023 NBA Draft on Thursday night in Brooklyn.
After missing the first seven games of the 2022-23 season, Whitmore went on to average 12.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game in his lone season on the Main Line. He earned Big East Freshman of the Year honors.
He is Villanova’s first true one-and-done since Tim Thomas in 1997, and the Wildcats’ latest first-round draftee since Saddiq Bey was chosen by the Detroit Pistons in 2020.
Before Whitmore, over the last decade, Villanova has seen five other Wildcats go in the first round and a total of nine players drafted.
Whitmore performed well at the NBA Draft Combine and had the measurables to support. He had a 40.5-inch max vertical leap and tested well in speed and agility. Also, at only 18 years old, there’s plenty of room for the Rockets to mold Whitmore.
Although he has the potential and a physical profile ready for the NBA, teams cited there was more to be desired in individual team workouts and interviews. Leading into Thursday, there were various reports and questions surrounding his health, intensity and performance in practice that may lead to a slide on draft night. It ended up being more of a slide than most expected.
Now, Whitmore will get to put that behind him, as he prepares to begin his NBA journey in Houston. The Rockets were one of the youngest teams in the NBA last season and they went 22-60 this past year and have plenty of young talent, like Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr.