by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of The UCONN Blog.
At Draft Nation, the NBA draft talk never ends. We will get you ready for the 2024 draft with player profiles and mock drafts so you can see who your favorite team may add to their roster.
Today’s Spotlight - UCONN, Shooting Guard, Stephon Castle
Name- Stephon Castle
Pos- Shooting Guard
HT/WT- 6’6” 215 lbs.
Home – Covington, GA
Stephon Castle grew up in Covington, Georgia and attended Newton High School. His big junior season put him on the recruiting radar. He averaged 16.6 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game and was listed as a possible 5-star recruit going into his senior year. He solidified his 5-star rating by averaging 20.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists during his final season and led the Rams to the Class 7A state quarterfinals.
After his stellar high school career, he was selected to play in the 2023 McDonald’s All-American Boys Game. He committed to UCONN in his junior year and stuck by his commitment after offers from Auburn, Arkansas, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Ohio State.
His first season at UCONN had its share of ups and downs. He was injured early on and came back in December, but on a limited minutes count. He has played in 9 games, starting 5, and he is averaging 9.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He has had flashes at times where he looks like the best player on the court. But there are moments when he makes you scratch your head with his decision making.
Castle has the build and versatility to play either the wing or shooting guard. He possesses a fluid body control, and is smooth in his movements. He succeeds at finding open spots and keeps himself in position to be able to catch and shoot the ball. His ball handling skills allow him to create scoring opportunities, whether it be driving off the dribble or pulling up for a jump shot. He is a scorer from all over the court and has good touch in close on floaters and when using the backboard. He is quick off the dribble and can hang in the air, helping him to draw fouls. He is a matchup nightmare against some of the smaller guards and his versatility helps him to be able to defend at several spots. He is able to carry the ball up the court and he is good at keeping the ball moving in the offensive sets.
Castle is quick off the dribble but lacks the explosion that most have at the NBA level. He will need to be cleaner off of screens and look for his jump shot to be an effective weapon. He can be too unselfish and will pass up open outside shots from time to time. He will need to be more aggressive overall in the offensive end looking to take advantage of open space. His defensive footwork will be a bit of concern against the faster and stronger NBA players. He can have slow feet at times and play off-balance when chasing the quicker opponent.
Mikal Bridges plays a similar style of game we could expect to see in Stephon Castle. Bridges was drafted in the first round, 10th overall in 2018 and has had a productive NBA career for Phoenix and now in Brooklyn. Bridges is a matchup nightmare who can be moved around on the defensive side of the ball. Castle has the makeup to be a 17-20 point per game player and a player with the versatility to be an important cog for a team.
Explosive first step
Stephon Castle is a solid prospect, who has the kind of versatility that NBA GMs love to have. Once he improves his outside shot and learns how to play against the speed and size of the NBA, Castle will be a big part of a team’s starting lineup and a player who can serve several different roles.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - First round - Lottery pick