Hoops Hello: Colin Castleton Comment Count

Ace October 4th, 2017 at 11:19 AM

Michigan put the finishing touches on an excellent 2018 recruiting class this morning when four-star Daytona Beach (FL) Father Lopez big man Colin Castleton announced his commitment:

Castleton chose the Wolverines over Illinois after taking an official visit to Ann Arbor last weekend. While Michigan made a relatively late push for Castleton, the efforts of John Beilein and new assistant coach Luke Yaklich—who'd recruited Castleton at Illinois State—made a major impression, per Sam Webb. Beilein's no-nonsense approach ultimately won Castleton over:

“It’s kind of like DeLand times 15 or 20,” said Castleton, who averaged 23.3 points, 11 rebounds and 5.4 blocks per game as a junior. “I liked the feel, the culture and the coaching staff. Coach Beilein doesn’t lie; he’s straightforward. He didn’t promise me any playing time or anything like that, but the players are all great.”

Castleton is the fifth commit in the class, which now boasts four composite four-stars and ranks second(!) in the team rankings.


Scout Rivals ESPN 247 247 Comp
4*, #20 PF,
#70 Ovr
4* PF,
#120 Ovr
NR 3*, 89, #35 PF,
#139 Ovr
4*, #30 PF,
#117 Ovr

While there's a difference in star rating, Rivals and 247 both have Castleton a little ways outside their top 100, while Scout is more optimistic, placing him at #70 overall. ESPN continues to be useless; Castleton, a composite four-star with several high-major offers, isn't in their database, and they still list Taylor Currie as a 2018 commit. They did just get around to putting up a page for Adrien Nunez, so hopefully they'll add Castleton soon.

Castleton is listed at 6'10", 215 pounds by Scout and 247 and 6'11", 220 by Rivals. Much like Moe Wagner, he projects as an NBA power forward who'll play center in college:

Castleton certainly has the requisite length, and as you'll see he could develop into an impact defender.

[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]


Castleton was a relatively latecomer to the game of basketball. He focused on baseball until blowing out his arm in seventh grade and didn't make the varsity basketball team as a freshman despite his height. Then he grew four more inches before his sophomore year, starred on his high school team, and hit the AAU circuit, drawing considerable interest from mid-major squads and the likes of Rutgers.

Given that background, it's not surprising that Castleton blew up this summer. Scout listed him among their breakout performers from the July evaluation period:

In a class short on legit bigs, Colin Castleton is really emerging. He was tremendous at the HoopSeen Best of the South. At a legit 6-foot-10, Castleton has skill to the three point line, while also not being afraid to compete down low. He needs strength, but is already making strides in that area and is improving quickly.

They'd jump Castleton into the top 100 in their next update, where he's held steady since.

Rivals had a similar takeaway about Castletons offensive skill from the Best of the South event while also noting he's got serious length:

Castleton is one of the more intriguing post players in the southeast in the 2019 class. At 6-foot-11 with arms that appear to stretch down to his knees, Castleton is a pretty smooth athlete with a high skill level. He can knock down jumpers out to three-point range, but some of his more impressive moments were plays he made posting up on the block or a couple steps off. Like most young post players, he needs to add some strength, but his long term potential is very high. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Illinois, South Florida, Xavier and more are involved here. He’s another prospect who deserves to be ranked in the 2018 Rivals150.

Sure enough, they moved him inside the Rivals150. One of their scouts named him the toughest prospect to evaluate in the class, in a good way:

RUSS WOOD: Colin Castleton. Ranking young bigs is a challenge for me. I really like Castleton's upside, and as a result I'm higher on him than his current rank.

Other Rivals takeaways noted that Castleton isn't a "super explosive" athlete, but he runs the floor very well, and he has the frame to "easily carry another 30 pounds" without losing his athleticism. That's encouraging, since he's definitely going to need that bulk.

Endless Motor has Castleton around where Rivals and 247 do, with the caveat that limited in-person evaluation kept them from potentially ranking him higher:

Colin Castleton (#138) – ranked him conservatively based on limited live evaluation. Gut tells me he’s more likely in the 90-100 range. elite rim protector/shotblocker that is a good rebounder as well. Offensively he has good touch around the basket and a nice shot from the midrange area. Shows some flashes of back to the basket game with jumphooks over both shoulders but more of face-up post player at this point. Good passer from the high-post area. Not an explosive athlete but is fluid with good size and length. Projects as a rim-protecting center that will score on dumpoffs, putbacks, rolls and midrange jumpshots. Low floor, high ceiling prospect that will likely need a year to add muscle mass and improve reaction time before being a heavy contributor.

About that shot-blocking ability—Castleton was the second-best shot-blocker in the EYBL this year, so calling him "elite" in that regard isn't hyperbole:

If he maintains this trajectory, he should be Michigan's best rim protector since Ekpe Udoh. Dylan went into more detail in UMHoops's in-depth evaluation:

On film, Castleton appears to be one of the best rim protectors that Michigan has recruited under John Beilein. He has great length, timing and is very mobile for his size. His shot blocking stands out on film because he can block shots in a number of different ways. He’s a very effective rim protector when he provides help, but he’s also capable of helping to the ball and then recovering to his man. He blocks shots in transition and he also does a solid job in one-on-one or post-up situations.

Dylan also notes that Castleton looks comfortable as both a roll man and pick-and-pop shooter with his EYBL team, which will be critical in Beilein's offense. While he doesn't have the all-around offensive skill of Moe Wagner, Castleton is a much better defender and should be a superior rebounder as well. With three-point range and developing offensive skill also in that package, Castleton would be a great pickup for anyone, and he's an especially good fit as a Wagner replacement.


Castleton initially looked ticketed for Florida, which he called his dream school, but while he held an offer and visited, it looks like he wasn't a take. He holds offers from Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Purdue, Rutgers, Xavier, among several others.


Castleton averaged 23.3 points, 11.0 rebounds and 5.4 blocks per game as a junior for Father Lopez. In 15 EYBL games for Nike South Beach, he averaged 6.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game while going 37/68 (54.4%) on twos, 0/8 on threes, and 13/21 (61.9%) from the line.


Junior highlights:

UMHoops compiled highlights from this summer:

Sophomore highlights can be found on his Hudl page.


Castleton is eventually going to be the starting five on this team is his scouting reports are accurate; Michigan has been in need of a skilled shot-blocking center seemingly forever. How quickly he gets there will depend on a few factors. First, he'll redshirt if Moe Wagner stays for his senior year, though it sure seems like Michigan expects him to depart following this season. Second, the development of Jon Teske and Austin Davis will impact how quickly Michigan needs him to be a part of the rotation. Third, he needs to hit the weights.

Ultimately, I see Castleton needing a year or two of physical development before emerging as the center who best fits Beilein's system while also providing rim protection we haven't seen around here in a while.


It is done. It is also very good.



October 4th, 2017 at 11:43 AM ^

Seems like ESPN should just stop ranking/evaluating kids and come up with their own version of the 247 Composite. Their audience is much much greater than Rivals/Scout/247. Stop paying people to evaluate, instead pay them to write articles based on data people would actually respect.

Swayze Howell Sheen

October 4th, 2017 at 11:35 AM ^

I just get this good feeling that Beilein is putting together a team that could really compete for the big prize.... good times(!), esp. considering all the cheaters out there are now going to have to tread lightly for a while...


October 4th, 2017 at 11:52 AM ^

I guess I need to pay more attention to b-ball recruiting as I had no clue this kid went to the same high school I did. It seems the Green Wave basketball program is doing much better than it did when I was there. The new gym looks good too. Anyway, super excited about this and I'll probably be Colin's biggest apologist going forward.  Go Blue...and Go Green Wave.


October 4th, 2017 at 12:28 PM ^

Did R.J. Barrett follow through on his planned visit last weekend? Guess we're moving on, although some elite recruits wait until deep in the spring for all the turn pros and transfers to shake out.


October 4th, 2017 at 12:38 PM ^

Let's see, how to say this without going to Bolivia??  A top-5 recruiting class that is 60%.....errrr.....Anglo/Euro ancestry.....has to be, shall we say, uncommon?  Depending which box Mr. Nunez checks on the census form, it might be 4 for 5 in the "w" category.

But don't you worry, Bill Simmons, our roster still won't lend itself to a 2007-style "whitewash." </a>  (I bet in 2017, even Simmons won't approach that joke anymore).  




October 4th, 2017 at 2:13 PM ^

I went to a high school in the Chicagoland area that was mostly white, but very diverse.  The starters on our varisty basketball team were all white, and I would say they were of average athleticism.  I remember constantly thinking we would get our asses kicked before playing some of the Chicago city teams.  Strangely, that was not the case.  I rememeber beating one of the Proviso teams and a Ronnie Fields led Farraguat team at their place.  It was so crazy to watch.  You had these Chicago teams that had guys running around, dunking etc. with trememdous altheticism.  We rarely (if at all) dunked, but we played an absolutely technically sound game of basketball. 

The city teams mocked us when we'd enter their gym, but they couldn't figure us out.  I remember we had this 5'10" shooting guard who was an OK dribbler, but was so money from 3 from just about any range - not the kind of guy you should leave open ever. But teams still left him open because he didn't "look" like a good basketball player.  When they eventually figured it out, we had formations to move the ball around to exploit another weakness.  It was so cool to watch.  We went to state finals that year, but lost. 

LS And Play

October 4th, 2017 at 12:36 PM ^

It's so hard to predict the trajectory of a college basketball program. 9 months ago we were staring at the NIT and not very much hope for the future. Since then all we've done is win a Big Ten tournament championship, make a Sweet 16 and reel in a Top 3 class. Crazy.


October 4th, 2017 at 12:34 PM ^

It's an outstanding class and, given Beilein's player development record, will probably do great things, but let's not kid ourselves that the class will finish top 5 in the rankings.  Probably end up in the 10-15 range.  (I am totally happy with this, btw.)


October 4th, 2017 at 1:41 PM ^

First, the idea we just signed a player who is similar to Wagner on offense and Happ on defense?  Yes please!  Unlike Ace, I think he will have to contribute off the bench as a freshman and compete for the starting spot as a sophomore.  I actually like the idea of a Davis or Teske starting for defense and rebounding while he comes off the bench for offense - picture the freshman year of McGary where Morgan started.

As for the recruiting class, this is probably about the ceiling of what Beilein could achieve by playing by the rules, targeting kids that fit his system, and hitting all positional needs.  What I'm excited about is that these guys all are good fits for what Beilein wants and what the roster will need next year....plus they're not just 1-and-done guys.  

  1. DeJulius - You almost need a PG in every cycle with Beilein's offense, he's a good one that can learn behind Z/Brooks his first year.
  2. Nunez - Pure shooter who is tall enough to play defense and fits an excellent role as the 2 or 3 off the bench initially like Irvin/Levert did as freshmen.
  3. Brazdeikis - Excellent scorer who will have the ball late in the clock. The alpha dog on offense that all teams need who is talented and old enough to step into a role early.
  4. Johns - The glue guy who brings athleticism, effort, and fills the role we've seen guys like Wilson, Irvin, or GR3 fill - play the 3/4, score off your teammates, rebound, defend.
  5. Castleton - The difference maker in a Beilein offense when the roll man can be a scorer and not just a finisher.  In the McGary/Wagner mold where our offenses have been elite instead of the Morgan/Horford/Doyle mode where they were looking for a layup only.

That's the mold for each of their respective positions and four of the guys could probably play multiple positions on the floor depending on how the rest of the roster shakes out.


Mr. Yost

October 4th, 2017 at 6:56 PM ^

I agree, I only used him because I was responding to that particular poster who used Irvin/LeVert and I think he's more LeVert than Irvin.

In watching Nunez, he gets to the rim quite a bit and he's crafty. So I do see a little LeVert in that sense. Caris is almost awkward when he drives, like James Harden...but he gets the contact and he's figured out how to finish.

I do like the other 4 comparisons though. Obviously in terms of playing style only.