UConn commit Stephon Castle excited for Final Four, eyeing big role next season | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / April 21.
  • UConn commit Stephon Castle excited for Final Four, eyeing big role next season

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    It doesn’t get much better than the week Stephon Castle is having.

    The 6-foot-7 Class of 2023 combo guard from Covington (GA) Newton will play in the McDonald’s All-American Game Tuesday night in Houston (9 p.m., ESPN) and his future college team will compete in the Final Four this weekend in the same city.

    “Yeah, I talked to coach [Dan] Hurley the other day, that’s my guy,” Castle said Monday on a Zoom call in response to my question.

    “It’s been pretty cool watching them come this far. Just going to the practices, they always have the [West] Region trophy up, I knew that that was their goal coming into the season, so just seeing them finally pull that out, it was a big deal for him and for me and my family just knowing I made that decision to play under him.”

    UConn, the highest remaining seed in this unlikely Final Four at No. 4, will meet No. 5 Miami in the second national semifinal Saturday at NRG Stadium. No. 5 San Diego State will face No. 9 Florida Atlantic in the first game.

    The Huskies are seeking their fifth national championship and first under Hurley.

    Castle said he’s not sure if he’ll stay in Houston this weekend because his parents have to get home for work.

    As if things weren’t bright enough for the program, UConn also has the No. 4 recruiting class in 2023, per 247Sports.com, with Castle, shooting guard Solo Ball, small forward Jaylin Stewart and Jayden Ross and big man Yousouff Singare.

    A five-star prospect ranked the No. 2 combo guard in his class per 247, Castle expects to play a lead guard role next season. With his height, he will be able to see over the defense most, if not all, of the time.

    “A lot of coaches say I play like I’m 6-4 and then they meet me in person and I’m actually 6-7,” he said.

    His father, Stacey, played at Wake Forest and UCF, averaging 11.4 points and 5.0 assists as a senior at UCF in 1995-96.

    “Just working out with my dad a lot,” Castle said when asked how he learned to play with pace. “He went to Wake forest and UCF, so just watching him play and looking at videos of little guards and how they play in the pick-and-roll game, so I just try to feed off that.”

    He also tries to model his game off of former Kentucky and current Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

    “Shai is one of my favorite players, his pace is crazy,” Castle said. “He’s like a 3-guard, 2-guard coming into the league and now he ‘s playing that 1 role for OKC and that’s kind of what I want to do.”

    Castle is playing on the East team along with several elite guards, including Kentucky-bound D.J. Wagner, Kansas signee Elmarko Jackson and Auburn commit Aden Holloway. Wagner and Jackson are among four New Jersey natives in the game.

    Castle was nominated for the Naismith Boys Player of the Year, along with those three guards and others.

    “I know that there’s a lot of good guards here, especially on my team so just showcasing what I can do on the other side of the ball and getting off the ball and not complaining about not having enough touches,” Castle said.

    “Just always having great energy, making the right play. I don’t try to force anything, just showing that I can play at the next level being a good basketball player.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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