CASTLETON, Vt. - The Castleton University men's basketball program features a revamped roster for the 2019-20 season, returning five players from a season ago while welcoming eight new faces to the team.
The Spartans look to rebound after a tough first year in the Little East, finishing 3-22 overall and 0-16 in LEC play. Head coach Paul Culpo, now in his 11th season at Castleton, returns three of his top five scorers from a season ago, including leading scorer Casey Belade.
Belade appeared in 24 games with 19 starts for Castleton, posting a career-high 10.5 points per game on 39 percent shooting from the field and 36.9 percent shooting from behind the arc. He also added 2.6 rebounds per game to go with 0.5 steals per game. Also returning is Igor Almeida, the Team MVP a season ago, who appeared 25 times with 16 starts. Almeida shot 43.6 percent from the floor, averaging 5.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
Denis LeCours saw significant minutes off the bench as a sophomore, making 24 appearances and averaging 6.2 points per game on 40.9 percent shooting. Oluwadare Sowunmi looks to work his way into the rotation after appearing just four times last season.
Eight newcomers look to give the Spartans a boost, including four transfers: Amadou Diakite, Demauriaye Smith, Terrin Roy and Tyrell Johnson. Smith and Johnson come to Castleton from Green Mountain College, where Smith averaged 6.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game while shooting 53 percent. Johnson accounted for 4.1 points, 1.4 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game as a sophomore before transferring. Diakite joins the Spartans from Fulton-Montgomery Community College, where he led his squad to a 20-7 mark by averaging 17.2 points and 3.2 assists per game. Diakite shot 45.5 percent from the floor and 42.6 percent from three, while knocking down free throws at an 80.5 percent clip. Roy played the 2018-19 season at Sullivan County Community College, where he averaged 4.3 points and 1.7 rebounds in 12.3 minutes per game.
Four freshmen also join the program, as South Florida natives D'Andre Daniel (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Remy Brown (Boca Raton, Fla.) come north, while Nate Plaisted travels east from Colorado Springs, Colorado. John Walsh, of Greenwich, New York, rounds out the rookie class for Castleton.
The Spartans open the season at Curry Thursday night in road action before coming home Tuesday, November 19, for the home opener at Glenbrook Gym against MCLA.