Sauls out, Casto in?
Posted by Jeff Nusser on April 9, 2008
Little-used guard Stephen Sauls, still suffering from the aftereffects of a concussion, has been granted a release from his scholarship so he can pursue opportunities closer to his home in Texas.
This is a move that has been speculated for some time, and most people are hoping the scholarship goes to DeAngelo Casto, an athletic big man from Ferris HS in Spokane who was the state player of the year.
He would certainly seem to be the best fit for the team, considering WSU’s already guard-heavy 2008 class. But with all the hype surrounding him, the Spokesman’s Vince Grippi has been strangely silent most of the year about Casto’s chances of playing for WSU next season, which I think should tell us something, since Casto played in the paper’s town.
Grippi says there are a number of options available for the scholarship, none of which, in his estimation, point to Casto:
“If point guard Paul McCoy of Grant High in Portland decides to attend WSU – he signed with Pepperdine early, but was let out of his LOI when Vance Walberg quit earlier this year – then he’ll get the scholarship. If he decides to go elsewhere, the Cougars have other options, including giving the ride to returner Charlie Enquist, who was a one-year commitment, or to Taylor Rochestie, who has given his up, or another yet-to-be-determined recruit.”
He then mentions in passing that there will be a story in the Spokesman about Casto tomorrow. A little odd. I often say not to read into things more than what’s there; we probably should read something into that.
Cougfan, in the meantime, is playing up the Casto angle to the hilt. Of course, the difference between the Spokesman and Cougfan is that Grippi talks to coaches, while Scout.com’s recruiting “experts” beat the trail talking to the players and their high school and AAU coaches, a land where opinions and commitments sometimes change as often as underpants, and speculation runs rampant.
Casto has made no secret of the fact that he wants to go to WSU — saying during the state tournament that WSU was recruiting him hard, and then saying at an all-star game a couple of days ago that he would sign a letter with WSU, which hardly is a slam dunk — so it’s no surprise that this is the direction Cougfan is going with the Sauls news. But take the report with a bit of a grain of salt.
And while I, like most fans, am enamored with Casto’s athletic ability, Cougfan mentions oh-so-casually that he still needs a qualifying SAT score and GPA. That, ultimately, could be why we’re not hearing much out of those close to the program about his chances of Casto coming to the school — those scores might be ending this thing before it begins. If the Cougs were on his trail as strongly as he wants us to believe, it just seems like we would be hearing more buzz from reporters close to the program, as we did last year from then-beat writer Glenn Kasses when Sauls joined the team.
I also can’t help but wonder just a little bit if Casto’s a good fit for the program. I don’t know the kid, but it sure seems like he’s told anyone that will listen that the Cougs have been recruiting him hard and that he wants to go to WSU next year. The begging of the spotlight just seems a little bit not Bennett’s style.
But that said, the kid is a winner, and supremely gifted, if still pretty raw. And I’d be very surprised if the Cougs didn’t add another player with that scholarship, whether it’s McCoy or Casto or some other out-of-the-blue player (which is what happened last year), so the speculation is expected.
My guess? The Cougs are reticent to waste that scholarship on a kid who might not qualify, so they’re holding out hope for McCoy or someone else, and will take on Casto only if the risk on him is the best option left. Then, if he doesn’t qualify, they’ll go ahead and give that scholarship to Enquist or back to Rochestie. That would make the most sense.
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