Casto announces end to days in crimson

AN ALREADY ANEMIC post is largely on life support after junior center DeAngelo Casto announced Friday that he will forgo his senior year to pursue a professional basketball career.

Casto, a two-year starter, has led the Cougars in rebounds and blocked shots the past two seasons. This season, he averaged 6.8 points and 1.8 blocked shots and recorded career highs of 12 points per game (third on the team) and 57.4 percent shooting on field goals (second on the team).

"We appreciate everything DeAngelo has given to the Washington State men's basketball program," coach Ken Bone said in a news release. "His effort on the court was always outstanding and it led to a very good season where he earned All-Pac-10 honors.

"Now that he's moving on to pursue a professional career in basketball, we wish him nothing but the best."

Casto, who starred at Freeman and Ferris High schools in the Spokane area, made the Pac-10 Conference All-Defensive team the past two years. He was named to the all-conference second team this season and ranks second in WSU's career record books with 165 blocks in three seasons.

Casto, a 6-foot-8, 255-pound post player at Washington State, hopes to play in the NBA but is generally considered to be an overseas pro prospect at this point.

Chad Ford, the NBA-draft analyst for ESPN, ranks Casto the 216th-best prospect for the 2011 draft. Only 60 players are selected in the draft's two rounds.

Casto acknowledged early in the season that he might not return for his senior year, one reason being that he wanted to make money to support his child, who was born in 2010.

Casto, who has reportedly dropped out of Washington State to train, did not hide his distaste for some college classes. Casto, who was born into abject poverty in the St. Louis area and adopted by a Freeman couple as a grade-schooler, often struggled in school.

The Cougars have no returning players or incoming recruits ideally suited to replace Casto as a regular post player at the Pac-10 level.

Junior wing Klay Thompson, who led the Pac-10 in scoring this season with 21.6 points per game, is also pondering turning pro. He is expected to enter the NBA draft, but has the option to withdraw within a certain number of days.

Second-leading scorer Faisal Aden (12.7) is a shooting guard like Thompson, and incoming junior Mike Ladd averaged 10.3 points as a starting shooting guard at Fresno State in 2009-10.

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