The CMU Men's Basketball program has announced the commitment of Derian Castaneda for the 2023-24 MCAC and NIAC seasons. The Garden City Collegiate product will bring a developed well-rounded game to the Blazers, and will be able to slot into the lineup in a number of different positions for the squad.

Castaneda played his high school basketball in a Garden City program that has established itself over the last few years as a premier school for producing top-level talent.  His Gophers teams have won the MHSAA "AAAA" KPAC title since his grade nine junior varsity season, landing them as a top four seed in the top tier of Provincial Championships.  The last two high school seasons Castaneda and his team appeared in the Provincial semi-finals, most recently bowing out to the eventual champion St Paul's Crusaders.  The team also collected a tournament championship in Brandon's Varsity Boys Spartan Classic, as well as finals appearances at tournaments hosted by DMCI and St Paul's, which makes Castaneda no stranger to big-game performances against the top teams in the province.  He has collected personal accolades along the way, including a leadership position as a co-captain in his graduating season, as well as KPAC All Star, and Athlete of the Month honours.  Castaneda slotted in primarily as a forward for the Gophers, but has capable ball-handling skills that give him a versatility to play on the outside as well, with the ability to score in many different ways.  It was his high school coach Iggy Grinevsky that pushed him to develop a college-ready game, and the Blazers program looks to be all the better for it.

On the club side, Castaneda began his career with Alliance Basketball, and then moved to Evolve where he and his teammates won the 2022 Club Provincial Championship title.  Most recently, he has suited up with Attack Basketball under the direction of Sukhvir Singh, who is happy to see Castaneda take the next step into post-secondary play.  "Derian was one of our team leaders all season," states Singh about the Blazers' latest signing.  "He works hard, doesn't miss practices, and leads by example.  Derian has a great all around game that can fit into any system.  Having the ability to pass, shoot, create off the dribble, and defend will help him be successful at the next level.  He's a great person and a great teammate and will raise the standard for any team he is on."

Blazers Men's Basketball head coach Scott Martin first scouted Castaneda at the Nick Laping Invitational Tournament, when he saw the potential for him to fit into CMU's lineup as a lengthy guard or small forward, and gave his thoughts on his first signing ahead of the 2023-24 season: "Derian is a solid all around player who flew a little under the radar for post-secondary recruitment.  He started and rarely left the floor for the third-ranked high school team in the province, and so I can certainly see him being an impact player on our team and in our conference."

Castaneda is very excited to play under coach Scott Martin, knowing his history of success and accolades in the Manitoba basketball community.  He wants to extend his sincere thanks and gratitude for all his family and current and past coaches who have helped and pushed him to get to where he is today, and for the blessings he has received along the way.

Coming off an MCAC Provincial Championship Finals appearance this past February, the Blazers will soon start gearing up for next season in hopes of capturing the program's first provincial title since 2017.  A rookie-heavy squad from 2022-23 will be bringing back valuable experience from playing in hotly contested games both here in Manitoba and South of the border, with reinforcements from this summer's recruiting class and a couple of key returnees looking to put the team back on top in 2024.


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