Spokane PF more than just the Sultan of Slam

SPOKANE JUNIOR DEANGELO CASTO is the highest profile player on the highest profile team in the Evergreen State, one that just happens to be right in the backyard of a perennial power, (Gonzaga), and an up and coming power (Washington State), and both are showing interest along with Oregon State. Casto talks about how much interest and why, and much more.

Casto exploded this past season to the tune of 17 points, 11 rebounds and 5 blocks per game in leading undefeated Ferris to the state Class 4A hoops title, and some well timed thunderous dunks during a few games brought the house down.

As his junior year at Ferris comes to a close, the 6-foot-8, 185-pound power forward is waiting on his first collegiate offer.

"I'm probably hearing the most from Oregon, Oregon State, WSU, UW and Gonzaga," said Casto, a very articulate transplant to Ferris from tiny Class 1A Freeman this past year.

Additionally, Virginia, UCLA and Florida have all either called Casto or his coach.

A tremendous leaper with a nice three-point shooting touch, some of his other skills go unnoticed, says his prep coach.

"He's quite a talent, he has a huge upside," said Ferris head man Don Van Lierop.

The prep players who get the most press are the scorers but it's the all-around game of Casto that has drawn the attention of college coaches.

"They've said that I have a lot of heart, and that I know my place as a teammate and not just a player. My shots that I put up, they're good shots. A lot of coaches will also tell me I pass really well. I had almost three assists a game," said Casto.

"As a player, he has good instincts, he's an excellent shot blocker who rarely gets himself in foul trouble," added Can Lierop. "He's underrated as a passer, he's just not asked to do it very much, but when he's doubled or tripled, the guys that are open, he'll find them."

WHILE BUT A JUNIOR, it would nevertheless seem a player who wowed 'em this year like Casto did -- particularly at the state tourney -- would still have a few scholarship offers. From what Casto said, schools are waiting on word about his academics.

"As soon as I get that SAT, then we can really start talking," he said. "They kind of hint at it. Gonzaga said they wanted a sit down. WSU has been upbeat, 'I hope you want to be a Coug', things like that."

Casto took the SAT exam this past weekend.

In basketball recruiting, seemingly more so than football, prospects often talk about their potential teammates as one of the primary draws. The two closest schools are the ones Casto is most familiar with, noting he also knows the players at Gonzaga and WSU best.

"I like (Gonzaga), I like the coaches and the guys, and that's one thing, I've met all the guys for them and at WSU. And I definitely like the coaches at WSU," said Casto.

Should Washington State in fact offer, they might have some work do with Casto's stepmom, (although he clearly considers her simply "mom"). Washington State still seemingly has a decades-old reputation as a "party school," said Casto, and "she was a little bit worried about that." In addition to WSU and Gonzaga, Washington holds an allure, he said, because "I like the fact (the coach is) a Christian, African-American man and I like the fact it's in the city."

Distance will also likely play a factor.

"My mom wants me to stay local," said Casto. "I'm also sure if I had a really good opportunity at some place far away, my mom would understand. My mom will play a big role in where I go because she's my mom, but I'm sure if it's a great school she'll be fine with it."

DeAngelo Casto profile

ONE TO WATCH
Shawn Stockton, a Ferris teammate of Casto and nephew of Gonzaga and NBA great John Stockton, was the state tourney MVP this past season. Van Lierop says he's drawing interest from WSU, Gonzaga and the UW in addition to the schools in the Big Sky.


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