Spurs rookie Castle 'excited' to team with Wemby

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SAN ANTONIO — Moments after Stephon Castle became a member of the San Antonio Spurs on draft night, he received a video call from the reigning rookie of the year, Victor Wembanyama.

After the two exchanged greetings, Wembanyama introduced himself and said, “It’s Victor.” Castle, the No. 4 pick in the draft, chuckled and told him he knows exactly who he is.

While chasing a national championship last season with UConn, Castle said he remembers watching Wembanyama’s rookie season and letting his thoughts wander.

“Just the thought of playing with him, of course it circulates in your mind, but it really doesn’t feel real until it becomes reality,” Castle said Saturday morning at his introductory news conference. “So I mean, just to know that that’s going to be my future teammate now, I’m just really excited for what our future looks like.”

Castle left UConn after his freshman season when he helped the Huskies to a national championship. Along the way, he had a chance to play with Donovan Clingan, a 7-foot-3 center who went No. 7 in the draft to the Portland Trail Blazers.

Now, he’ll have a chance to throw lobs to an even bigger target.

“It was fun throwing lobs to DC,” Castle said, “so I can only imagine what [throwing them to Wembanyama] will be like.”

Castle also compared how the two big men change shots at the rim and how it allows him to be more aggressive as a defender. He said it was great playing with Clingan but having “probably the best shot-blocker in the league” now is also something that intrigues him.

During the pre-draft process, Castle said he wanted to go to a team that would let him play point guard. Castle, who measured in at 6-foot-5½ without shoes at the combine, said that remains his desire, but he understands having positional versatility is important.

“I feel like that’s where I’m most comfortable, but then again, being at UConn for that one year and just expanding my off-ball abilities and being able to show really my whole game, that’s something that I plan to do as I come here and play,” Castle said.

Castle said he feels like he’s the “perfect fit” for the Spurs’ offense.

Castle was introduced on Saturday along with the Spurs’ second second-round pick, Harrison Ingram. San Antonio’s pick at No. 36, Juan Nunez, was not in attendance because he’s back in Spain working out with the national team.

While at UConn, Castle had the chance to play for Dan Hurley, who is considered one of the best coaches at that level. Now he’ll get the chance to play for the NBA’s all-time winningest coach, Gregg Popovich.

“Just the thought of playing for Coach Pop, it really doesn’t feel real,” Castle said. “Just coming from probably the best college basketball coach to now going to Coach Pop, a legendary coach like that, I feel like it’s the perfect situation.

“I feel like this is a position that any basketball player would want to be in to play for two high-level coaches like that. Just to be able to learn from him, I’m excited for, just to be able to play for him and how much I’ll grow.”

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