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NCAA Champion Declares for 2024 NBA Draft

UConn Huskies center Donovan Clingan (32) hold up the championship trophy as the team celebrates in front of a large crowd of fans after the teams victory parade.

Stephon Castle has declared for the 2024 NBA Draft, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The freshman guard played a pivotal role in UConn’s dominant NCAA tournament championship run, and was expected by many to leave for the NBA.

NCAA Champion Declares for 2024 NBA Draft

Stephon Castle’s NCAA Career Shows He’s NBA Ready

The Huskies became only the eight team to win consecutive national championships. They are the first to do so since the Billy Donovan-coached Florida Gators in 2006 and 2007. Those Florida teams were also headlined by future NBA players, including Joakim Noah, Al Horford, and Corey Brewer.

Castle was a five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American in high school, playing for the Newton Rams in Covington, Georgia. Castle averaged 11.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in his freshman season at UConn.

The Huskies dominated their opposition in the regular season, capturing the Big East title for the first time since 2006. Their 18 wins set a program-record for wins in the Big East. Castle was named to the Big East All-Freshman team, as well as capturing Big East Freshman of the Year honors.

The young guard continued his ascension into the NCAA tournament, where he averaged 12.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in six games. UConn breezed through the field, winning each game by no less than 14 points. In the championship, Castle scored 15 points as the Huskies brushed aside the Purdue Boilermakers 75-60 to capture their sixth national title. UConn finished the season with a 37-3 record.

When asked about what this title meant for his legacy in Connecticut, Castle left little doubt as to where his future lied.

“It [means] everything, just to go out with a bang, just to win it all, that means everything to me. Just to do it with the group that we have, it was just so special. Just to be a part of this group, and just to be a part of this journey, has been everything I could ask for.”

Stephon Castle NBA Draft Profile

Castle is looking to join a long list of former UConn point guards who enjoyed successful careers in the NBA, including Ray Allen, Kemba Walker, and Richard Hamilton. The guard that Castle replaced at UConn, Jordan Hawkins, is already a promising young player for the New Orleans Pelicans.

A tremendous athlete, Castle is projected as a lottery pick in this year’s draft. Despite questions about his jump-shooting ability, Castle’s 6’6 frame and defensive versatility projects to translate to the NBA. The 19 year-old may struggle on the offensive end at first, but if his collegiate career is anything to go off of, he will find ways to positively impact the game immediately at the NBA level.

If played off-ball, his strong finishing and cutting will be of tremendous value. However, Castle could also build on the promising playmaking skills he displayed at UConn, where he averaged 2.9 assists.



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