Todd Golden got a major boost for his inaugural season at Florida, as big man Colin Castleton announced on social media this morning that he would be returning for one last season.
“Everyone’s process is different, and I’m adding another chapter to mine,” Castleton declared in his statement.
After Castleton transferred in to Florida from Michigan two seasons ago, he quickly became a fixture in Mike White’s “offense,” (term used loosely) scoring 12.4 points a game and grabbing 6.4 boards a game in 2020-21. He returned in 2021-22 to improve upon those numbers, nearly averaging a double-double with 16.2 points and 9 rebounds per game.
Though the Gators’ “offense” backslid overall from 2020-21 to 2021-22 with the loss of Tre Mann, and though Colin Castleton does still have some technical things he could get better at, Castleton’s game tape- featuring tremendous hustle, grit and willpower at both ends of the floor- was thought by some to be grounds for him calling it a career at the collegiate level and turning pro. That did not happen. And now, though it is objectively way too early to start making any sorts of predictions about where Todd Golden’s maiden voyage at Florida is headed, there’s at least real promise that it might end in the NCAA Tournament after White decimated the program on his way out.
The idea of Castleton playing for a year under Todd Golden is fascinating.
The creativity Golden uses on some of his set plays to free up shooters will almost certainly utilize Castleton’s length. If opponents aren’t careful, those set plays could feature mismatches with Castleton inside. And one more year under Florida’s strength and conditioning program could turn him from an above-average college big guy with the heart of a lion (yes, a reference to his twitter header) into a real game-planning problem for opponents.
Speaking of Golden, Florida’s new coach is off to quite a start. He’s filled his initial coaching staff with quality assistants, including Kevin Hovde, Korey McCray (who worked with Ben Howland at UCLA and MSU), and Jonathan Safir. And now this Castleton news comes days after landing highly touted Belmont transfer Will Richard, who averaged 12.1 points a game as a true freshman.
Here’s hoping that the return of Colin Castleton provides more than mere excitement, but the start of Florida basketball’s journey back to where it belongs.