Purdue vs. UConn - (Stephon Castle) [600x400]
Purdue vs. UConn - (Stephon Castle) [600x400] (Credit: Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)

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After playing an immense part in a national championship run, UConn freshman guard Stephon Castle is entering the 2024 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Friday.

Castle -- No. 9 on ESPN's list of Top 100 prospects -- is one of the fastest-rising players on NBA draft boards and is expected to push toward the top of the lottery with the momentum of a dominant performance in the Huskies' NCAA title season.

Castle has selected agents Joe Smith and Thad Foucher of Wasserman for his player representation, he said.

Castle averaged 18 points in the Huskies' Final Four victories over Alabama and Purdue and had a combined 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. For the season, Castle -- a McDonald's All American out of Covington, Georgia -- averaged 11.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.

At first glance, Castle's allure to the NBA is readily apparent. He possesses an elite physical profile at 6-foot-6, long arms and a chiseled 215-pound frame.

Castle is a big guard who plays with unique pace. He operates at alternating speeds and flashes intriguing court vision and creativity with his passing off the dribble. He developed into one of the best defenders in college basketball, ordinarily tasked with slowing down the opposing team's best player. Castle used his length, frame and quickness to hound opponents with intense ball pressure during the Huskies' run through March Madness.

Among NBA executives, Castle earned notice for his willingness to embrace his role as a fifth option on one of the best teams in recent college basketball history, delivering high-level phenomenal defense, facilitating from static situations in the half-court offense and bringing noticeable toughness on the offensive and defensive boards. He should be able to compete for playing time almost immediately in the NBA, largely thanks to his defense and well-schooled secondary playmaking prowess.

ESPN NBA draft analyst Jonathan Givony contributed to this report.