Rafael Castro, the 6’9-6’10 forward from New Jersey, finally made it official and committed to the Friars over Dayton and Miami. The lengthy forward becomes the second commit in the Class of 2021 for the Friars, joining Michigan recruit Legend Geeter.
Castro is a more widely known recruit than Legend Geeter (no disrespect intended for Geeter, who I think is a picture perfect fit for the Friars program).
247 rankings Castro as a 3 star recruit. In the state of New Jersey, he is the third ranked player overall, with the two recruits above him being committed to two Big East schools as well (more on that later).
Rivals ranks Castro in a similar range as a 3 star recruit ranked 136 overall.
These are the types of recruits that thrive as upperclassmen under Cooley. Castro likely would have exploded on the AAU scene, but with COVID, he slightly slid under the radar. Ultimately, this benefitted the Friars, who are often the victim of getting in early on a recruit only to have a blue blood program swoop in last second.
When looking at the class needs initially, I thought we’d first solidify the PG and C position and then target best available with that third slot. It shows how little I know.
I actually thought our 3-4 spots from a talent and depth perspective were solid, but this commitment alongside Geeter shows Cooley wants to keep building those interchangeable pieces on the court.
Castro likely will see his first action at the 4 spot and can transition to playing a small ball 5 position. Although 6’9 and lanky, his length allows him to play bigger than that and be a force at the rim and defensively. Castro as an upperclassmen may grow into the 5 spot, but will likely see time immediately coming off the bench as an energetic forward who will be a rim runner.
With the Castro and Geeter pledges, on top of what is already on the roster, PC is well stocked at the 3/4 positions.
PC: Jimmy Nichols
NBA: Ed Davis
Castro fits the mold of the typical Cooley front court player: long and athletic. Castro will need to put on some weight to compete in the Big East, and I naturally see him playing alongside a true “5”. Asking him to play at the 5 isn’t a proper utilization of Castro’s tools, so I am hopeful that Cooley still pursues a big to play alongside Castro and Geeter.
Castro will likely see time early due to his ability to run, block shots, and score in transition. Defensively, he can help alter shots at and above the rim.
It is always nice to land a high caliber recruit from a basketball-rich state like New Jersey. Castro is the third ranked player in this class from The Garden State, and it is not a shock that the two players above him are also committed to Big East Schools.
I’ve written about how Northeast and New England basketball players see the appeal of the Big East conference more so than a kid from the MidAtlantic. If the Friars can keep stockpiling talent in the Tri-State and New England, they will continue to be in the upper echelon of the Big East.
Simply put, this is a huge win for Cooley and staff after a few misses.