NEW YORK – Columbia head men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith announced the additions of Kyle Castlin, Nate Hickman and Hasan Ismail to the roster for the upcoming 2014-15 season.
“We are fortunate and excited to bring in this group of talented student-athletes,” stated Smith, who is entering his fifth season. “They have a chance to come in and blend with our returning players and help us continue to build something special here at Columbia.”
Castlin is a 6-4 combo guard from Marietta, Georgia, where he played for Hillgrove High School. A four-year letterwinner with the Hawks, Castlin is coming off a senior year where he was a first team all-state selection and picked up regional player of the year honors. As a junior, Castlin led Hillgrove to a second-place finish in the Class AAAAA Tournament, averaging 21.0 PPG, shooting 45-percent from 3-point range, and 6.8 rebounds.
“Kyle possesses all the qualities we look for in a perimeter player,” Smith said. “He does a lot of things very well and we like his aggressiveness on the glass, which can help him come in and make an immediate impact.”
Hickman, a Wilmington, Delaware, native who spent 2013-14 at the Peddie School in New Jersey, averaged 17 points in his postgraduate year. The 6-4 guard was a third team all-state selection known for his speed and a knack to get to the foul line.
“Nate gives us another option in the backcourt that can play both guard positions,” commented Smith. “I feel that he gives us an added dimension of quickness and hopefully he can develop like many of the other players in our program.”
Ismail comes to Morningside Heights via the American School of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The 6-1 guard, who was born in Detroit and raised in Pembroke Pines, Florida, averaged 20 points per game throughout his career and played in eight international tournaments in high school. Additionally, Ismail was league MVP three times and was a four-year letterwinner in volleyball.
“Hasan is another player from our international contingent,” said Smith. “He fits in with Columbia’s global initiative and we’re excited to welcome him to the squad.”
The Lions return its entire 2013-14 roster that finished 21-13 and reached the quarterfinals of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, marking the most successful season for the program since 1967-68.