In a few days, when David Castillo boards a jet bound for Europe, he will only need one airplane seat.
But, in a very real sense, the entire Bartlesville community will be traveling in spirit with the basketball stalwart of Bartlesville High.
Castillo will travel with a select group – with emphasis on the word “select” – of athletes who have been named to the USA Basketball U17 Men’s Team to represent the United States at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2022 in Spain.
This is the second year that Castillo has been chosen for this honor. In 2021, the 6-foot-1 playmaker played on the men’s USA U16 squad that won the FIBA Copa de Americas gold medal.
Castillo received an invitation last spring to join the U17 squad. He was one of 35 players who started trials a few days ago. The list was reduced to 18 players on Monday and, on Wednesday,
Castillo was named to the final 12-player roster, which represents 10 different states. He is the lone Oklahoman on the team and one of four players who played together on the U16 Championship team last year.
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Castillo’s success is not only the sum of his talent, skill, desire, determination and hard work, but it is also the product of a caring and supportive city.
“We appreciate everything the community has done,” Castillo’s father, Nate Castillo, said. My wife Hilda and I both recognize that,”
He expressed his deep appreciation to Bartlesville Public Schools Superintendent Chuck McCauley and Bartlesville Director of Athletics and Activities Thad Dilbeck for their waivers allowing David wide access to the gym so he could work on his shooting, in the weight room and on the track.
“These things are necessary and we are very grateful,” Castillo said. “If he is a pianist, a child needs a piano to practice. He needs all these assets at his disposal to realize his dream. … It takes all those people in the community to nurture how it can grow. … The community has been very supportive and we don’t want to lose sight of that as we pursue her dream.
David Castillo has done his part in this quest to become a special hardwood talent.
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“He’s just very lucky,” Nate Castillo said. “Very few children have these opportunities. The face that he had this opportunity to represent the United States twice gives such an amazing, uplifting and blessed feeling. We are very grateful.
Playing for an American team is very important to the Castillo family, which enjoys a rich military tradition.
Nate served as a reservist and Castillo’s older sister, Letricia, is a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, Nate said.
“We have all served our country in one way or another. We feel very honored as soldiers to serve our country and David is making his way through basketball.
Last summer, Castillo came out of the pine to score 14 points to help USA claim victory in the FIBA U16 America’s Cup Championship Game.
Other members of that squad joining Castillo on this year’s U17 team include Ron Holland (6-7, Texas), Ian Jackson (6-6, New York) and Jeremy Fears (6-0, Illinois).
The 2022 U17 squad is slightly bigger at the top than the 2021 U16 squad.
The 2022 roster is led in verticality by 7-foot-1 Denis Evans III of Riverside, Calif. There are six players on the roster listed at 6ft 6in or taller, compared to four for the 2021 crew.
The same U16 team coaching staff leads the U17 assembly – Sharman White (Pace Academy, Georgia) as head coach, Eric Flannery (St. Edward High, Ohio) as assistant and Steve Turner (Gonzaga College High, DC) as the other.
The U17 World Cup match is set to start on July 2 in Malaga, Spain.
Team USA will face Lebanon and face Slovenia and Mali in other round robin matches.
Championship tournament action opens July 6.
The ability to see the world is another major benefit for David, Nate said.
“I am delighted that he can enrich himself with this cultural diversity, meet new children from these new regions, but also the food, the beaches and these aspects are things that also help him to grow.