UConn men signee Castle named McDonald's All-American

Jan. 25—STORRS — Stephon Castle hasn't even started his tenure with the UConn men's basketball team yet he's already entered himself into Huskies lore.

The Huskies' high school Class of 2023 signee was named a McDonald's All-American Tuesday, becoming just the 12th McDonald's All-American in program history and first since 2016.

As a result, Castle will be one of 24 players that will compete in the 46th annual McDonald's All-America boys game March 28 at the Toyota Center in Houston (9 p.m., ESPN).

"Congrats to Steph and the Castle family," UConn coach Dan Hurley said following practice Tuesday. "That guy has had one incredibly highly-decorated high school career. USA Basketball and all the different achievements, and then to cap it off with McDonald's. Just what an addition he's going to be. It excites you to coach a kid like that.

"We're hired to do a job for Stacey and Quan's son. They're going to let us do the job every day."

UConn's previous McDonald's All-Americans were: Corny Thompson (1978), Donyell Marshall (1991), Richard Hamilton (1996), Khalid El-Amin (1997), Taliek Brown (2000), Scott Hazelton (2000), Charlie Villanueva (2003), Rudy Gay (2004), Kemba Walker (2008), Alex Oriakhi (2009) and Alterique Gilbert (2016).

"It's a validation of where your program is," Hurley said on what it means to bring in a McDonald's All-American, his first. "Why they made the decision they did and what the decision is based on is something you're proud of. I think it's just more things that will continue to raise the bar. I think that's important for a program. Just continue to raise the bar of what you're doing."

A 6-foot-6, 205-pound combo guard, Castle is in his senior season at Newton High in Covington, Georgia. He committed to the Huskies in Nov. 2021 before signing his letter of intent Nov. 9, 2022.

Castle averaged 16.6 points and 6.5 rebounds as a junior before winning a gold medal with USA Basketball at the 2022 FIBA U18 America Championships.

He's ranked No. 9 nationally in his class by 247Sports.com and No. 2 in Georgia by the website.

Joining Castle on the East team for the McDonald's All-American Game include Kentucky signees Aaron Bradshaw, Justin Edwards and D.J. Wagner, who are ranked 2nd-4th nationally by 24/7 Sports.

The West team includes Isaiah Collier (USC), the top recruit in the class according to 24/7 Sports, and Bronny James (undecided).

For coverage of UConn football and men's basketball as well as area high school and local youth sports, follow Adam Betz on Twitter: @AdBetz1, Facebook: Adam Betz — Sports Writer, and Instagram: @AdBetzJI.