When SU forward John Castello first stepped on the court for the Red Raiders in 2016, he immediately made a major impact.
Castello, who recently graduated from Shippensburg, left an imposing career stat line in his seasons, including 1,575 points scored and 1,086 career rebounds. On top of that, he owns a career .509 shooting percentage from the field and started in 123 games over the span of his collegiate career.
The Mars, Pennsylvania, native also sports numerous awards which include being named to the 2019 All-PSAC Eastern Division First Team. He is also a two-time All-PSAC Eastern Division Second Team member. Furthermore, Castello earned NBAC Division II All-District honors with fellow teammate Jake Biss for the 2019-20 season.
He was a key member in the winningest class in Shippensburg basketball history, contributing to 99 wins in four seasons, including a run to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Division II Tournament in 2018.
Castello was best known for his rebounding and scoring capabilities, but he also feels he did a solid job of helping to maintain good team chemistry. However, he ultimately gives the SU coaching staff much of the credit for the team’s success during his tenure.
“Our coaching staff does a great job of getting the most out of all our players,” Castella said. “Our practices were tough and very game-like, which we all enjoyed but they made you work hard and that is something that will stick with me forever.”
Although he wishes some moments panned out differently during his time at Shippensburg, his only regret happened to be out of his control -- when he lost out on his final chance to compete in the NCAA Division II tournament this past season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“The only major thing I would change about my playing career at Ship would be the end of my senior season to where we actually get to play in the NCAA tournament and win some games,” Castello said. “Other than that, there really wouldn’t be anything else I would change.”
According to Castello, it will be difficult to step away from basketball after four monumental seasons, but he feels extremely grateful for the memories and moments he created at Shippensburg.
“I made some of my best friends playing for Ship and was fortunate enough to have a great staff during my time, so I’ll miss them the most,” he said.
While Castello does not have any future career plans in basketball, he said he is not looking to put the sport completely behind him. He added that he will look to keep basketball as a hobby by playing in pickup leagues near his home.
For now, Castello said he is looking forward to an enjoyable career in the business world. He currently holds a sales position with PepsiCo.
Castello thanks his teammates and coaching staff for a memorable four years at the university. He also said he hopes to have left his own mark and story while being a part of the Red Raiders’ basketball team.
“I would just like to say thank you to my coaches, athletic personnel, sports information team [especially Bill Morgal] and most of all, my teammates,” Castello said. “We had some amazing moments on and off the court that I will cherish forever.”
In the end, Castello wants future members of the team to know that playing for SU is rewarding and life changing. Additionally, his words of wisdom to pass on to the succeeding players are get in the gym, ask questions and, most importantly, have fun and enjoy the ride.