Cam Whitmore, who dazzled Baltimore area high school basketball fans with a combination of athleticism and explosiveness during an All-American career at Archbishop Spalding High School, had his dreams come true Thursday night, when he was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 20th pick in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft.

Whitmore, who was the Big East Freshman of the Year in what turned out to be a one-and-done career at Villanova University, last winter, became the second Spalding player to be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft, joining long-time star Rudy Gay, who was selected at No. 8 overall in the 2006 draft, also by Houston.

A three-time All-Baltimore Catholic League 1st-Team selection and the BCL Player of the Year in his final two seasons (2020-21 and 2021-22), Whitmore was a McDonald’s All-American and the Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior.

Whitmore suffered a thumb injury last October which cost him more than two months of his only college season, but he rebounded to average 12.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 25 games with the Wildcats.

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Former Archbishop Spalding star Cam Whitmore was selected in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft, at No. 20 overall, by the Houston Rockets. (Derek Toney)

The injury may have a lot to do with Whitmore sliding from a projected top ten position to No. 20, but the 6-foot-7 star feels he has often been under-valued during his basketball career.

“I mean, nothing new,” Whitmore told The Athletic, shortly after his selection was announced. “I just knew what it was. Probably after a couple of picks, I’m like, ‘All right.’ I know what it is, I know it’s time. I have that chip on my shoulder, but I’ve been overlooked before. It’s nothing new.”

Whitmore joins recent BCL/MIAA stars Jalen Smith (Mount St. Joseph) and Immanuel Quickley (John Carroll) in the NBA. Smith, who now plays for the Indiana Pacers, was taken at No. 10 overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2020 draft, after two seasons at the University of Maryland. Quickley was taken at No. 25 overall after two years at the University of Kentucky, also in 2020, by the Oklahoma City Thunder and traded on draft night to the New York Knicks for whom he still plays. Both Smith and Quickley were McDonald All-American’s in 2018.

Gary Adornato is the founder and original publisher of Varsity Sports Network, a high school sports news network that became part of The Baltimore Banner in August 2022.

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