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Casto it is

Posted by Jeff Nusser on April 23, 2008

Obviously, I’m a bit late to the DeAngelo-Casto-signed-a-letter-of-intent party — thanks in no small part to spending five days in Anaheim, Calif., with 23 of my students at a national student journalism convention with 4,300 teenagers, then spending the past two days getting caught back up at work — but I still have some quick thoughts for you all. Better late than never, right?

First of all, now that Casto has signed that LOI, here’s to hoping he clears the necessary academic hurdles. Our frontcourt has just one good rebounder coming back (Aron Baynes), and while Casto is far from a finished offensive product, he’s long, athletic and clearly has a nose for the basketball — both in terms of rebounding a blocking shots.

If Casto can qualify, there’s little doubt in my mind that he’ll be called upon to contribute right away. The only true frontcourt players returning who figure to be fixtures in the Cougs’ regular rotation next season will be Baynes and Caleb Forrest. Baynes is a great rebounder; Forrest is not. The rest of the frontcourt prospects include 6-7 Daven Harmeling (perimeter player), 6-7 Abe Lodwick (lightweight), 6-8 James Watson (freshman) and 6-10 Fabian Boeke (injured and ineligible all last year).

He won’t start, and he might not play more than 15-20 minutes a game. But clearly, Casto brings an element to the table that none of these other guys do, and that will be worth something — especially once the team gets into Pac-10 play and size becomes more of a premium.

But that’s not what has me most excited about this signing. What’s got me fired up is the talent in this six-man class. This certainly is the most talented class inked by the school in some time, if not ever. It’s a well-rounded class that features a solid mix of frontcourt and backcourt players, each of whom brings something a little bit different to the table, and there is not one — not even one — throw away prospect in the class.

Not one guy was signed just to fill out a roster spot. Not one guy was signed with the hope that someday he develops and pans out. No projects to be found.

Beyond that, four of these six guys are from the west, and Casto is the Washington 4A player of the year. We’re no longer having to scour the globe for guys other schools have never seen; we’re beating schools in our own conference to guys.

Those two things, my friends, say as much about where this program is going as anything else. Exciting times.


6 Responses to “Casto it is”

  1. Ptowncoug said

    A combination of a young coach and a rising program always helps in recruiting!
    I really believed that Casto was a must sign guy. Not only his height, but he is tipping the scales at 230! Compare him to Watson. Casto is one of those kids that we just don’t normally get. We get the skinny tall guy or the to slow or to short forward or the overweight big guy.
    I sure hope he can meet the NCAA academic requirements.

  2. MikeR said

    I’m not sure what we’ll be able to expect out of Casto — I’ve heard varying reports from some Spokane hoop fans who’ve watched him play extensively. That said, I’m quite confident that, should he make it to Pullman, Tony will get the most out of him.

    At the very least, if he turns into the second coming of Ivory Clark, he’ll certainly have been worth the risk. We had a glaring weakness in our helpside defense last year. If Casto helps fill that void, I’ll be happy.

  3. Nuss said

    Hey, Mike — the varying reports you heard … did they have more to do with talent or character?

  4. MikeR said

    More to do with talent — that he’s not exactly a superskilled player, and that he tends to disappear against some of the better players. Then again, you don’t win a state title and get named MVP of the Oregon-Washington all-star game if you can’t at least hold your own against good players.

    I’ve never heard that he’s a character problem. From all accounts, he’s a good kid who’s just had a difficult life.

    I’ve also been told that he tends to coast at times. Don’t know if that counts as a “character” issue — probably more of a “focus” problem that can be easily remedied in the Bennett system.

    Again, this is all second-hand info, so take it with a grain of salt. However, the Spokane hoops fan (and WSU insider) I put the most stock in swears up and down that he’s going to be a stud, and that this was an absolute steal.

  5. Nuss said

    Man, I hope that guy is right. I can only imagine how this season would have been different had we had an athletic big man up front. We did a great job adjusting schemes the second half of the year to compensate for the lack of a skilled shot blocker, but it really limited a lot of what we were able to do defensively. Casto — if he truly is a steal — fits a very specific need for this program, especially if he can put on 10 to 20 pounds over his career, which it certainly looks like his frame could carry.

  6. Jackson said

    If you havent heard he has “character issues” you have not been listening. This kid is trouble.
    He is trouble everywhere he lands. He was adopted when he was 6 years old, any hard life he has had past that, was of his own doing. He’s one of those kids who will not be told what to do by anyone. Sure sure he’s a good ball player, but he’s a lousy student, and a quitter.

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