The highest-rated, and most highly touted freshman recruit in this Big East class hails from Covington, Georgia. He’s a five-star recruit signed to the University of Connecticut. It’s Stephon Castle, you read the title and knew this. No more filler, here’s my assessment of his game.
His spin move is awesome. It’s just breathtaking, it’s truly a thing of beauty. He uses it so well. He’s very creative in both how he gets to the lane, and how he finishes when he gets there. He’s able to finish with either hand and get to either side, really making it look easy.
He’s not the fastest guy or shiftiest guy, but he sees the floor very well and knows exactly what gaps to attack and how to get there. He really uses his size and physical presence as a weapon, which helps him get to the lane, and either score or draw fouls once he’s there.
Castle is relentless in getting to the rim and is very smart with how he draws contact. He probably had some 20FT games here, or at least some point in his high school career. He’s incredibly tough to stay in front of and really makes the officials blow their whistle. His ability to draw fouls and generate points out of lost possessions saved his Newton squad so many points.
He’s just incredibly creative here and uses his aggression as a weapon against his opponents in the most creative ways, and makes sure to capitalize at the free-throw line.
Man, he's an excellent passer. I don’t think I’d label him a true point guard, but he’s a very good creator for both himself and his teammates. He was able to make multiple crosscourt passes, pass with both his right and left hands and find his open teammates for good looks. He used his size as a weapon to see over the defense. I was very impressed by this, and with the caliber of teammates he will have at UConn, I think Castle's passing ability will really surprise some people.
Castle has a pretty smooth stroke, utilizes his pull-up very well and knows exactly what spots to wants to get to. He was a very hot and cold shooter in these games however, when one would fall through, four or five would soon follow. If he’s missing, he seemed to struggle to find that groove. At UConn, he’ll have a true PG in Tristan Newton next to him, which I think will really help Castle settle in.
There are definitely questions as to how well his jumper will translate, but I think he has all the skills to become a good shooter at this level. His jumper is definitely developing still, I’m excited to see how it looks in year one. I think with more opportunities off the catch that could really help.
The shot selection was certainly something. He definitely forced a ton of shots. He really hunted his pull-up game, and I think that’s a weapon best used in certain spots. asNot too often, but something that really can change the flow of a game. It's not something that you should necessarily hunt out, as he did here.
Castle can definitely make all of these shots, he’s proven that, but I would like to take these shots only when the opportunity presents itself. He has a very nice pull-up, I just think he needs to find the balance between taking advantage of this skill and forcing up an inefficient shot. I think with less pressure on him to score that this issue can solve itself, but we'll see.
Defense is something I think Castle should be good at, but there were times when it just looked like he got bored. He was playing that “Superstar D” as I said, and really just stat-hunting. In the Big East if you do that you are going to get beat. I really think he should be good on this end with the physical tools he has, but I do want to see it before I fully buy-in. The effort here was lacking, and I wish it wasn’t. I expect him to turn it up on this end and don’t think this is what he will bring to UConn, but it’s something to keep an eye out for.
He was definitely the option on his high school team; there was a ton of iso-ball, Castle-time offense. That won’t be the case at UConn, so I’m very curious to see how he falls into this role. He's a Day One starter for sure and will be a downhill threat. He should be a pretty efficient option on the wing too, with how well he sees the floor, I think having the ability to be patient and pick his spots could really help him. I think the secondary playmaker role suits his skillset really well, I don’t think he’s ready to play PG yet.
I’m not certain on how his jumper translates and if the shot selection will be there. I think being in a more organized system could really help him, but he doesn’t have the tough shot-making ability as Jordan Hawkins (who was arguably the best shooter in that draft class, so expecting that would be a little much). I don’t think he’s a surefire 15PPG guy, but that’s not what UConn needs him to be.
He’s a legit downhill threat that adds another dynamic to this team. Guarding both him and Pat Spencer on this UConn squad will cause opponents problems. Spencer should play incredibly well off of a talent like Castle. I’m not sure Castle’s ready to be a surefire offensive leader on this team, I will wait to see him play to bestow that title on him, but man he’s really good. He’s a five-star for a reason, he’s a very smart player who imposes his will in games, and that will translate to the college game.
I was fairly confident this was a bad call, but a couple of people said at first they agreed with it. Was this call correct? No way... right?