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THE RECRUITING GUY: Georgia guard impressed with Musselman, staff

by Richard Davenport | October 8, 2021 at 2:15 a.m.

University of Arkansas Coach Eric Musselman and his staff do a lot of the right things in recruiting, and staying in regular contact with prospects is one of them.

ESPN 4-star junior shooting guard Stephon Castle would agree because he's in steady communication with Musselman, director of operations Anthony Ruta and recruiting coordinator Ronnie Brewer Jr. on a regular basis.

'I talk to Coach Muss weekly and Coach Ruta and also Coach Ronnie Brewer," Castle said. "He [Brewer] texts me like pretty much every other day."

Castle, 6-6, 200 pounds, of Covington (Ga.) Newton, has scholarship offers from Arkansas, Ohio State, Auburn, Wake Forest, Florida, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Miami and Georgia Tech and among the 16.

Musselman shared info on the Hogs' hosting 20 NBA teams for pro day on Tuesday.

"He talks about player development," Castle said. "He text me about their pro day and simple stuff that's going on during practice and sometimes just checking up on me."

Brewer was a first-round pick of the Utah Jazz in 2006 and played in the NBA until 2014. Having a staff member not that far removed from playing at the highest level is attractive.

"That's pretty cool and it also kind of puts Arkansas out there like ahead of some other schools in the country because not every school has that type of connection," Castle said.

Castle, who averaged 13.8 points, 5.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.3 steals while shooting 41% from the three-point line as a sophomore, was one of only nine 2023 prospects invited to participate at the prestigious NBPA Top 100 in late July.

His stock and offers increased because of his play with Atlanta XPress coached by his father, Stacey, on the Under Armour Association circuit and his showing at the NBPA camp.

He went from being ESPN's No. 29 shooting guard in the nation and the No. 6 prospect in Georgia for the 2023 class to the No. 16 shooting guard in the nation and No. 4 prospect in Georgia in the updated rankings.

The elder Castle, who was a guard for Wake Forest and Central Florida in the early 1990's, appreciates how Musselman and the staff recruit his son.

"I definitely like how the coaching staff has broken down his game specifically in detail and given some things he need to continue to work on," Stacey Castle said. "It's not just the praise. I appreciate the balance."

In his two years in Fayetteville, the Hogs have seen several players, including Mason Jones, Isaiah Joe, Moses Moody and JD Notae flourish under Musselman.

Jones was named Associated Press SEC co-Player of the Year, Joe was taken in the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, Moody was the SEC Freshman of the Year and taken by the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 2021 draft, while Notae was named the national Sixth Man of the Year and the SEC's Sixth Man of the Year.

"For me one the big keys is development," Stacey Castle said. "Watching guys in their program develop is a big thing for me, and it matches up with the things they are saying."

Stephon's attitude trickle downs from his father.

"All he does is preach sticking to the process," said Castle, who plays at the same high school Notae attended. "He doesn't believe in hype. I never really believed in it either so looked too much in to offers because once you're on the court you still have to play at the end of the day."

He plans to visit Auburn this weekend and is looking to make his way to Arkansas in the future.

Email Richard Davenport at rdavenport@arkansasonline.com

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