On the August 30th episode of the Providence Crier Podcast BOC & The Crier drafted PC’s roster for our player preview series. We take a look at each player and what fans may expect this upcoming season.
Rafael Castro came to PC in 2021 viewed as a potential project. Castro was ranked as a 3-star prospect coming in at #142 in his class per 247sports. Head of scouting for 247sports Jerry Meyer projected Castro as a Power-5 Starter and raved about his frame and athletic ability.
After a redshirt freshman season in 2021, Castro saw his first action in a Friar uniform this past season. In spot minutes Castro showed flashes of his skill set. He averaged 6.5 minutes per contest scoring 1.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.5 bpg, and 0.4 spg. Similar to some others we will preview in this series, Rafael wasn’t given enough playing time on the court to show his worth.
That will seem to change this year, especially given the sudden departure of Will McNair. Castro would’ve likely been a rotational big off the bench with Will McNair, contingent on the matchup. Now, with McNair off to Kansas State, Rafael is the next man up and first big off the bench.
Given his raw abilities and the fact that he’s been in the program for three years, this is the moment where Castro can breakout. His combination of length and athleticism are attributes that only he possesses at the big man spot on the roster. If he can breakout it would be massive for the prospects of the team. If he doesn’t, then the Friars will find themselves woefully thin in the frontcourt.
BOC Take: There has never been a better opportunity for Castro to seize the moment and make himself a stalwart in the PC rotation. In my opinion, this is a make or break year for Castro. He will either prove himself to be a core frontcourt player for the next few years or will show he likely cannot hack it at the Big East level. With the frontcourt lacking numbers, he has nowhere to hide and must emerge now. It truly is now or never for Castro as a Friar.
As I’ve mentioned several times on podcasts and various social media platforms, I’m extremely concerned about the frontcourt with McNair Jr. no longer with the program. Castro being an adequate back-up eases my concerns, but we have yet to see he can stay on the court and contribute during meaningful portions of games. Providence won’t be counting on him to be an offensive weapon, but merely needs him to not be a liability. He needs to rebound with authority, provide some resistance on defense in the low post, and avoid careless turnovers. That’s really all that should be expected of him at this juncture of his career.
If Castro can be counted on as a back-up big, that’s a successful season for Rafael. This is the year that can serve as a springboard for him in 2024 and beyond.