Florida basketball: Colin Castleton withdraws from 2021 NBA Draft, returns for senior season

By Adam Silverstein
July 4, 2021
Florida basketball: Colin Castleton withdraws from 2021 NBA Draft, returns for senior season
Basketball

Image Credit: GatorsMBK / Twitter

Florida Gators junior forward Colin Castleton announced Sunday that he has decided to return to school for his senior season after entering his name in the 2021 NBA Draft to test the waters of becoming a professional basketball player. Castleton, a transfer from Michigan, did not hire an agent and was therefore able to retain his eligibility.

“The past few months have been really productive as I’ve participated in the NBA Draft process and worked out for NBA teams. It’ll be an experience that will help me as I continue growing as a player and a person,” Castleton wrote on a Twitter graphic.

“I’m excited to announce I’ll be back at the University of Florida next season to continue competing with my teammates and working toward my degree. I love being a Gator and can’t wait to keep representing the Orange and Blue. Thank you to my family, Coach White and everyone else who has been there for me throughout this process. Go Gators!”

Averaging 12.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, Castleton registered three double-doubles last season, including two in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. He started slow through Florida’s first four games but took on a more significant role following the loss of star junior F Keyontae Johnson, the Preseason SEC Player of the Year, and made the most of it.

In the first two games the Gators played without Johnson, it was Castleton who led the team in scoring, averaging 22 points on combined 18 of 23 shooting. He shot 59.7% from the field, posted 19+ points five times and scored in double digits over 16 of 24 contests.

Casleton blossomed in his first year with Florida after spending two seasons rarely seeing the court at Michigan. He went from averaging 7.9 minutes as a sophomore at UM to 25.8 at UF and was a significant reason that the Gators were able to advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Despite his success, Castleton was not considered a top 100 NBA Draft prospect, which would have made it unlikely for him to be selected in the two-round draft. As such, the likelihood was always that he will return to college for the 2021-22 season.

Still, Castleton tested the draft waters at a time of turmoil for Florida’s roster. Sophomores point guard Tre Mann guard Scottie Lewis both declared for the draft and hired agents, a handful of players transfered (including junior G Noah Locke) and head coach Mike White had to replace two assistant coaches this offseason. This while the Gators are still waiting for Johnson to be medically cleared. Florida has largely built its 2021-22 roster on transfers with only one prospect — four-star G Kowacie Reeves (Macon, GA) — joining the program as part of the Class of 2021.

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