What Can New Florida Big-Man Colin Castleton Bring To The Gators?
Potentially, a matchup nightmare.
Former-Michigan forward Colin Castleton is now a Gator. The big man is a Florida native, from Daytona Beach. After two seasons at Michigan, Castleton decided to return home, making his trip from college back to Daytona two hours instead of 16.
Castleton struggled to get consistent minutes with the Wolverines, as UM has one of the stronger frontcourts in all of college basketball. He had to fight for minutes behind guys like Isaiah Livers and Brandon Johns Sr.
“I think Colin is an underrated guy," Florida coach Mike White described the junior forward on Wednesday.
Now, he is in an entirely different frontcourt, one with inexperience and not nearly as much talent. A very large role on this team is the junior's for the taking, if he performs.
The opportunity is certainly there, and at 6-foot-11, Castleton certainly can present a matchup nightmare defensively. Watch this bucket against Nebraska.
With that type of size, it makes help defense extremely difficult. Any sliver of space a guy like Castleton gets, it's nearly impossible to recover before he hammers it home.
"He’s a guy that I feel like has done a good job working and developing this fall," said White. "He’s been very competitive, very receptive to coaching, he’s shown some toughness, some skill level. He is a little bit different than some of the guys we’ve had."
The big man has shown skills with the ball on the floor as well. In a half-court set, once he gets position, point guards Tre Mann, Tyree Appleby or Ques Glover can feed him in the post and watch him work.
Watch this play against Elon. Castleton establishes a favorable position, gets around his defender with a spin move and finishes on the other side of the rim with a fake. This is all while dribbling better than the average big man in college basketball.
Last season, UF had this type of ability in Kerry Blackshear Jr. However, the difference is that Blackshear had more skills but less violence. Rarely ever did Blackshear stop thinking and aggressively attack the basket.
Castleton seems to display more of a balance in that regard. He has the skills to earn buckets in half-court sets on his own, but he also has that aggressiveness to simply attack when necessary.
In terms of playstyle, think somewhere between Blackshear and Omar Payne. Obviously, those are two very different players, but just for the mental image. Picture a guy that is not quite as skilled a Blackshear, but makes up for it with a little bit of scrappy in his game. White even compared Castleton's length to Payne's, while floating that his playstyle is also similar to sophomore center Jason Jitoboh.
Then, think about someone that has more skills than Payne, is slightly less athletic, and has the same hustle and energy that he brings to the court.
Castleton may be the ultimate wildcard on this squad. In a few months, Gator fans could feel a breath of fresh air for their frontcourt. Or, they could feel like the same old story of White's transfers not working out as well as the Gators had hoped.