Stephon Castle Opens Up a Whole New World
UConn’s highest ranked recruit in decades will play a big role as a freshman.
Photo: Twitter - @UConnMBB
Once upon a time, UConn men’s basketball was on a hot streak with five-star recruits. Jim Calhoun had an absurd run from 2003 to 2008, striking it big in 2003 (Charlie Villanueva), 2005 (Andre Bynum), 2006 (Rudy Gay), and 2008 (Kemba Walker).
Two head coaches, one rapid decline, and two leagues later, Dan Hurley and the Huskies earned a commitment from Stephon Castle, a 6-foot-7 combo guard from Covington, Georgia, as they were starting their 2021-2022 season.
Castle is the gem of one of the best recruiting classes in the country. He was a four-star recruit at the time of his commitment but later vaulted up the boards. The ninth-ranked overall player in the Class of 2023 and UConn’s highest-ranked recruit on 247Sports since Rudy Gay in 2006, he’s Hurley’s first five-star and could be the program’s first one-and-done since Andre Drummond in 2012.
In the Hurley era, fans have enjoyed the steady stream of four-star recruits that need a little seasoning before a breakout. It can be more rewarding — and sustainable to success — to develop talent with the right attitude and fit with the system and let them break out the way Jordan Hawkins, James Bouknight, Adama Sanogo, and Andre Jackson have. Castle watched as the team he committed to evolved into the juggernaut that won it all.
That formula worked incredibly well. So why change it up? Because top-line talent can make a huge difference in college hoops, and blue-chippers can be the perfect ailment for a championship hangover.
With Tristen Newton now dialed in for another year at Storrs, UConn’s likely starting backcourt now stands at 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-5. Castle and his 6-foot-9 wingspan bring the same do-everything, Swiss-army knife versatility that made Newton so valuable during the 2023 title run.
Castle’s skill set is one of the major reasons that expectations remain so high for the Huskies despite the departure of three players to the pros. Here’s a deeper breakdown of that skill set.
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