The sports staff at The Journal News recently compiled a list of athletes to watch in 2014 — athletes who could end up having extremely bright careers in their respective sports. We tried keeping the list pretty tight for each sport, but three girls basketball players made the cut. Read the lede and bio on three players below:
If you are a regular reader of The Journal News or visitor to lohud.com, you have no doubt seen the names.
Mary Cain. Saniya Chong. Khalil Edney. Colin Moran. They are all prominent athletes from the Lower Hudson Valley who dominated the headlines in 2013.
With 2014 upon us, there surely will be other athletes tied to our communities who make it impossible for us to look away as they craft their own legacies. With that thought in mind, we have developed a list of “Ones to Watch” in 2014. And you can bet there will be others we have missed as the action unfolds over the next 12 months at courts, fields and rinks near and far.
So have a look at our list. Some of the names might be familiar. Others, not so much.
At least, for now.
Why: After a breakout junior basketball season at Clarkstown South in which she averaged 20.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game, Castaldo has committed to the University of Maryland at Baltimore County. A dynamic forward who, at 5-foot-8, was forced to play center for the Vikings last season, Castaldo has become part of the conversation for top player in the section. A third straight league title is a distinct possibility.
Watch for: Castaldo will try to revive a struggling UMBC program next season, but first she will look to lead the Vikings to the Westchester County Center for a shot at the sectional title.
Jalay Knowles and Shadeen Samuels
Why: Knowles, a junior, and Samuels, a sophomore, have given Ossining girls basketball fans reason to believe the team can repeat as state champion, even with Saniya Chong now playing for UConn. Knowles averaged more than 20 points per game through Ossining’s first seven games. Samuels has scored in double figures in each of the last four games. She scored 27 points — 23 in the fourth quarter — despite playing with four fouls in a come-from-behind win over Horace Greeley.
Watch for: Expect to see Knowles continue to dominate inside, Samuels continue to bury 3-pointers and Ossining to continue winning.