T here was a slightly different version of Reece Castor at Saturday’s UP All-Star Game. Sure, there were still the signature bounce passes through traffic that evaded defenders’ arms before dropping into his teammates’ hands in stride. He could still get to the rim whenever he decided to assert himself, thanks to his slick handle and explosive changes of direction. Those elements remained.
You could have missed the change if you weren’t paying attention, but it came in the second half. Castor handled the ball on the left wing, rose up from beyond the arc and swished a 3. It was his only 3 on his way to 18 points along with 12 rebounds and seven assists, but it was a sign of improvement. There was no hesitation or hitch in his shot — just a fluid shooting motion where the previous pause in his jumper that was prevalent during his senior season was absent.