Colin Castleton Returning To Florida

After going through a lengthy NBA Draft process that saw him work out and interview with multiple teams Colin Castleton announced via social media that he would be returning to Florida for his senior season. 


Castleton was quick to take advantage of the NCAA’s recent ruling that players can enter the draft and gauge interest before deciding whether to go pro or return to college. The rules also allow players to sign with an NCAA approved agent, something that Castleton also took advantage of. 


When it came time to announce his return, this is what he posted:

Castleton was able to work out for the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Memphis Grizzlies. I was told from sources with two of these teams that the workouts went fairly well, with his shooting being what stuck out most. Despite having never hit a three-pointer in his college career (0-8), he shot extremely well in these workouts, hitting over 55 out of 100 threes in workouts for two separate teams. Castleton told me ever since he committed to the Gators a year ago that he is a confident long range shooter, though it isn’t something he has been able to showcase in college. If these workouts were any indication, he really can shoot the ball.


Where he was told he needed to improve was strength and pick and roll defense. His frame is still slight for the NBA game that is full of monster big men, and the Gators were a terrible pick and roll defensive team throughout last season. I would argue that Castleton’s play wasn’t the problem in Florida’s pick and roll defense and he actually performed quite well in these actions, but there are going to be a lot of film clips of Florida getting scored on while he’s guarding in the pick and roll.


Throughout the process Florida’s staff was confident that he’d be returning to the Gators. This was something that was communicated verbally, as well as through their actions. They never aggressively pursued any centers in the transfer portal, something they certainly would have been active in should they have felt Castleton was going to leave. 


Castleton, a second team All-SEC player, will be a top player in the SEC and will likely be on a number of preseason award watch lists. In an SEC loaded with talented big men the Gators now have a weapon they can feel good about in nearly every matchup.


Shooting is going to be a focus for Castleton and how Florida utilizes him in this role will be fascinating. Florida hasn’t had a true stretch five in the Mike White era (I’ll stand by that Kerry Blackshear, who came to Florida as a below-average shooter, wasn’t a true stretch five) so how they utilize him will be a key early in next season.


One of the top shot blockers in the country, Castleton will also be anchoring a defense that Mike White will be desperately hoping to improve which should be made easier by the veteran transfers that will be on campus.


Eric Fawcett
Eric is a basketball coach and writer from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His work has been found at NBA international properties, ESPN, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Lindy's and others. He loves zone defenses, the extra pass, and a 30 second shot clock. Growing up in Canada, an American channel showing SEC basketball games was his first exposure to Gator hoops, and he has been hooked ever since. You can follow him on Twitter at @ericfawcett_.