USA has asserted dominance in the FIBA U17 World Cup dating back to its inception in 2010, having won gold in all five iterations of the event and sporting a perfect 37-0 record. This year, 34 athletes from the high school graduating classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025 were originally invited to the USA Basketball Men’s U17 National Team Training Camp at the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center for a chance to represent the country. Amongst a talented and deep pool of prospects, the final roster was trimmed down to 12 players.
Pro Insight spent the week in Colorado Springs and caught up with David Castillo of Bartlesville High School (OK) and Team Griffin (OK), who is returning for his second consecutive stint with the USA Men’s Junior National Team. Last summer, Castillo helped USA win gold at the 2021 FIBA U16 Americas Championship and averaged 5.8 points on 47% shooting from deep in 11.3 minutes per game. An elite shooter from distance and mid-range with playmaking chops, the 6’2” guard was named to the Frontier Valley Conference First-Team after going for 24.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per outing as a sophomore.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Castillo discussed his siblings’ athletic background, showing assertiveness and confidence as a lead guard at the U17 training camp, the importance of offensive freedom and the fanbase in his college choice, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2024 prospect David Castillo, from Bartlesville, Oklahoma:
Pro Insight: How did you get to where you are today? Talk a bit about your background and family.
David Castillo: My parents are from New York. They're immigrants from Honduras. My brother was born in Alaska and I was born in Houston so we're really all over the place and you know, just really trying to represent my family.
PI: What led you to move to Oklahoma?
DC: Just my dad found an oil and gas job. Oklahoma is just a great place. Bartlesville is just an amazing place. It's just really good to be there and it just feels like family at home.
PI: Any other athletes in the family?
DC: Yeah, my brother and my big sister. My big sister played at Air Force
Academy and my brother, he just played throughout high school so we're really big athletes in our family.
PI: Both playing basketball?
DC: Right, right.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
DC: I played football. I was really, really fast. I tried to play other sports, just never found the time just 'cause I was always in the gym growing up, but I played football and you know my siblings played all the other sports (laughs).
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths?
DC: My playstyle is cerebral. I think I'm really good at shooting the ball, playmaking, and just really leading my team, being a real true point guard, and keeping everybody engaged.
PI: Talk about your impression of this U17 camp — what did you think you showcased?
DC: I was trying to showcase me being more assertive. Last camp or last year as a matter of fact, I was very… I wouldn't say passive, but just not as confident. So this camp, I'm just trying to show that I build on confidence and being more assertive and just really being a true point guard.
PI: You played on the USA U16 FIBA Americas Championship team last year, how was that experience?
DC: It was amazing! Just having the gold medal, it was surreal just to be able to represent the country and my family. Everybody was so proud. It was just very, very surreal and I’m very proud to be a gold medalist.
PI: Who have you enjoyed playing with at the training camp?
DC: Tre Johnson. You know that's just been my teammate for the past two years and that's my guy.
PI: How would you describe your AAU experience with Team Griffin? What are you hoping to build upon?
DC: Last session was pretty bad for us. We didn't have our big man due to USA U18 [Training Camp] but the sessions have been going great. Really just trying to win, build, and improve being a younger backcourt at the U17 level so it's been really really fun.
PI: Who do you model your game after or study on film?
DC: Trae Young and Steph. Trae Young, he's just been a role model growing up. Just trying to follow that path that he's on. Steph, just playing off the ball more. He's really, really conditioned and really good at playing off the ball, setting back screens, just being very active and so I try to model my game after them.
PI: What’s your recruitment update? Who have you been hearing from the most, lately?
DC: It's been a lot of schools. June 15th came and it was crazy. I was getting four or five phone calls at the same time. There's a ton of schools. I don't want to mention them and then forget some, but I think the main ones are just BYU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Tulsa, Gonzaga, K-State, Kansas. I may be forgetting some and sorry about that, but those are the main ones that come to my mind.
PI: Would you consider an alternative pro option in lieu of college?
DC: Anything is an option. I'm really just trying to focus on college right now and if the pro options come, we'll look into it and see the options, but college is the main goal right now.
PI: What will ultimately be your deciding factors when making your choice?
DC: Mainly freedom. Just being able to come in and play as a freshman, and just really have the ball in my hands, be able to make decisions, Really have a confident coaching staff, just like a family-based organization — the coaching staff that believes in me and the last thing is mainly the fan base. I really love the fans. I like doing community service and all that other stuff, so fan bases are important too.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
DC: Video games and fishing a little bit.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
DC: Favorite music artist, wow…Gunna. He’s probably my favorite, yeah.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
DC: Hashtag, wow (laughs), these are tough questions. #Confidence. I'm just really trying to show that I'm more confident than ever.
PI: What’s something most people have no idea about you?
DC: Oh, I can dance. I can really dance, but you know rarely, not many people have seen me dance, so…but yeah I can dance, yep (laughs).
PI: Like hitting the griddy?
DC: Kinda, yeah yeah yeah (laughs). All the dance moves that are popular nowadays.
PI: Where do you see yourself in five years?
DC: Hopefully in college and hopefully pro. Just wherever God makes my path, it's the path I'll take, so one of those options for sure.
PI: How important is your faith to you?
DC: Faith is very important. I think if you just have faith then anything, any outcome can be a positive light. Just having faith, there's no negatives.
PI: How are you currently using your platform and presence?
DC: I'm trying to post more fan-related stuff. Probably like me, just being into fashion, other people can just wear clothes and stuff like that and maybe copy my own fashion. On my Twitter, I try to post me with kids and show that I've been with the community and all that other stuff. So just really trying to make myself feel the same as the fans almost in a sense.
PI: Is fashion something you are interested in exploring?
DC: Maybe. I really like fashion so that might be a goal of mine. Actually it is, but that would be once I get the right platform, I think that would be one of my goals.
PI: Name four words that best describe you.
DC: Joy, goofy, confident, and different.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
DC: Just really being a competitor on the court; but off the court, I want to be known as a great person, just always being kind to people. Because like you never know what situation guys can be in later in the future, so just always being kind to people and maybe creating a business opportunity for me later on or something like that. So just always being kind and always thinking of the near future, 'cause basketball stops.