UConn’s Stephon Castle wins Big East Freshman of the Year

UConn guard Stephon Castle was named Big East Freshman of the Year during the league’s major award presentation at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday.

Castle is UConn’s first Freshman of the Year since Daniel Hamilton won it in the American Athletic Conference in 2014-15. He is the first Husky named best rookie in the Big East since Rudy Gay in 2004-05.

The quietly confident, former five-star recruit and McDonald’s High School All-American, Castle fit into UConn’s starting lineup and quickly developed into the team’s best perimeter defender, typically assigned to guarding the opponent’s best player. Castle was the only player unanimously voted to the Big East’s All-Freshman team after leading his class in points (11.8), rebounds (4.4) and assists (3.0) in league play.

Castle had 15 double-figure scoring games this season and a large handful of highlight-reel plays – several of which came in the series of dunks that helped him tie his season-high 21 points as the Huskies clinched the regular season title.

The 6-foot-6 native of Covington, Ga., accumulated a record 11 Big East Freshman of the Week awards this season, notably passing Syracuse’s Carmelo Anthony (10, 2002-03) and Georgetown’s Allen Iverson (9, 1994-95) for the most all-time.

“I’m not sure that I’ve taken it all in yet,” said his father, Stacey, who coached his son at the AAU level as he went into middle school. “To see his name up there with those guys, to surpass it, it’s definitely a great feeling. He’s not one that relishes too much in his own awards and glory, but later on I think he’ll be able to look back and really truly appreciate what he did.”

Castle has lottery pick potential for this year’s NBA Draft, but his focus, for now, is on helping to bring UConn another national title.