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UConn freshman Stephon Castle declares for NBA draft and becomes school's second one-and-done player

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UConn freshman Stephon Castle declares for NBA draft and becomes school's second one-and-done player
Sport

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UConn freshman Stephon Castle declares for NBA draft and becomes school's second one-and-done player

2024-04-19 23:34 Last Updated At:23:40

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — UConn freshman Stephon Castle has entered his name into the NBA draft, becoming the fifth Husky starter to at least explore moving on after Connecticut's latest NCAA title run.

UConn and coach Dan Hurley confirmed the move Friday on social media after it was first reported by ESPN.

“No Freshman impacted WINNING like this Champion…His combination of talent, work ethic and humility…And GREAT parents!!" Hurley posted.

The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 11.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.9 assists in his only season as a Husky, while often drawing the defensive assignment to shut down the opposition's top perimeter player.

He was even more impressive during the Final Four, scoring 21 points in UConn's semifinal win over Alabama and putting up 15 points in the win over Purdue in the national championship game.

Castle becomes just the second UConn player to enter the draft after his freshman year, joining Andre Drummond, who was selected ninth overall by the Pistons in 2012.

His announcement comes one day after UConn forward Alex Karaban declared for the draft, but said he would retain his college eligibility, allowing him to make a final decision after going through the pre-draft workouts.

Castle and 7-2 sophomore center Donvan Clingan, who declared for the draft last week, are projected to be lottery picks.

UConn's other two starters, All-American guard Tristen Newton, the most outstanding player in the Final Four, and graduate transfer Cam Spencer, a sharp-shooting guard who averaged 14.3 points, have no more college eligibility and are also draft prospects.

AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

UConn head coach Dan Hurley hugs guard Stephon Castle during the second half of the NCAA college Final Four championship basketball game against Purdue, Monday, April 8, 2024, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

UConn head coach Dan Hurley hugs guard Stephon Castle during the second half of the NCAA college Final Four championship basketball game against Purdue, Monday, April 8, 2024, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

UConn guard Stephon Castle (5) dunks over Alabama forward Grant Nelson (2) during the second half of the NCAA college basketball game at the Final Four, Saturday, April 6, 2024, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

UConn guard Stephon Castle (5) dunks over Alabama forward Grant Nelson (2) during the second half of the NCAA college basketball game at the Final Four, Saturday, April 6, 2024, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

UConn guard Stephon Castle (5) drives as Purdue guard Lance Jones defends during the first half of the NCAA college Final Four championship basketball game, Monday, April 8, 2024, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

UConn guard Stephon Castle (5) drives as Purdue guard Lance Jones defends during the first half of the NCAA college Final Four championship basketball game, Monday, April 8, 2024, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Israel was told to halt its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, but judges on the top United Nations court stopped short of ordering a full cease-fire throughout the Palestinian territory.

The International Court of Justice also ordered Israel to keep the Rafah border crossing open, saying “the humanitarian situation is now to be characterized as disastrous.”

Israel faces global criticism over the mounting death toll and devastating humanitarian crisis in Gaza. More than a million Palestinians fled Rafah in recent weeks as Israeli forces pressed deeper into the city. People displaced by fighting lack shelter, food, water and other essentials for survival, the U.N. humanitarian agency said Wednesday.

The cease-fire request is part of a case filed late last year by South Africa accusing Israel of committing genocide during its Gaza campaign. Israel vehemently denies the allegations. The case at will take years to resolve, but South Africa wants interim orders to protect Palestinians while the legal wrangling continues.

At least 35,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Israel launched its war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed about 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250. Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more. The Israeli army said Friday that it recovered the bodies of three more hostages killed on Oct. 7.

Currently:

— Israel’s army says the bodies of three more hostages killed on Oct. 7 were recovered overnight from Gaza.

— Top U.N. court orders Israel to halt military operation in Rafah; Israel is unlikely to comply.

— The Security Council will vote on resolution decrying attacks on the U.N. and aid workers, and demanding protection.

— Iran inters its late president at the holiest Shiite site in the nation after a fatal helicopter crash.

— More aid is getting from the U.S. pier to people in Gaza after a troubled launch.

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here's the latest:

JERUSALEM — Benny Gantz, one of three members of Israel’s War Cabinet, indicated his country’s military won’t change its conduct in Rafah despite an order from the top U.N. court to halt the widening offensive there.

Gantz’s comments Friday were Israel’s most senior reaction to the International Court of Justice ruling, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not make an immediate public response.

Gantz said Israel “set out on a just and necessary campaign following the brutal massacre of its citizens,” which includes the sending troops into Rafah. Israel portrays the southern city as the last Hamas stronghold.

“We will continue operating in accordance with international law wherever we might operate, while safeguarding to the best extent possible the civilian population,” Gantz said. “Not because of the ICJ, but because of who we are and the values we stand for.”

The world court does not have a police force to enforce its orders, meaning Israel is unlikely to comply.

The court also ordered Israel to reopen the Rafah border crossing. But it did not call for a full cease-fire throughout Gaza as South Africa, which brought the case, requested at hearings last week.

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — South Africa welcomed the top U.N. court’s order for Israel to stop its offensive in southern Gaza, and said it’s up to the U.N. Security Council to take action to enforce the ruling and alleviate the dire humanitarian situation.

Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said the International Court of Justice put forth a “much stronger” set of provisional measures on Friday which were a “very clear call for a cessation.” In an interview with state broadcaster SABC, she said South Africa’s allegation that a genocide is taking place is getting “stronger and stronger by the day.”

She said the U.N. Security Council has the responsibility to now determine measures to protect Palestinians in Gaza.

“We are all seeing the horror unfold and something needs to be done. And we cannot just rely on those who are the executioners of this ongoing onslaught to be the ones to stop it,” she said.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The top United Nations court has ordered Israel to immediately halt its military offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah — but stopped short of ordering a full cease-fire.

Although Israel is unlikely to comply with Friday’s order, it will ratchet up the pressure on the increasingly isolated country. Criticism of Israel’s conduct in the war in Gaza has been growing, particularly on operations in Rafah.

It has even come from its closest ally, the United States. This week alone, three European countries announced they would recognize a Palestinian state, and the chief prosecutor for another U.N. court requested arrest warrants for Israeli leaders and Hamas officials.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also under heavy pressure at home to end the war.

While the ruling by the International Court of Justice is a blow to Israel’s international standing, the court does not have a police force to enforce its orders. In another case on its docket, Russia has so far ignored a 2022 order by the court to halt its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron will host Qatar’s prime minister and other officials from Arab nations for talks on the Middle East on Friday, his office said.

It says the meeting at the presidential Elysee Palace will include, along with Qatar’s prime minister, the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Saudia Arabia, and France. It says they’ll be discussing the Middle East but gave no details

Meanwhile in Washington, a U.S. official said CIA Director Bill Burns is meeting in Paris with Israelis and Qataris in informal talks aimed at getting hostage and cease-fire negotiations back on track, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the meetings.

The official gave no time for the discussions.

Burns is in close contact with Egyptian officials, the official said. The Qataris and Egyptians are serving as mediators with Hamas officials, who are not taking part in person in the talks.

__Associated Press writer Ellen Knickmeyer contributed to this report.

BERLIN — Germany pressed Israel and Hamas on Friday to urgently allow the entry and distribution of more humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

German Foreign Ministry spokesperson Christian Wagner said the situation in Gaza was “catastrophic and disastrous.”

“The Isreali government has stressed repeatedly that it wants to flood Gaza with humanitarian aid. Honestly speaking, that is not visible at the moment and that must urgently change,” Wagner said at a government news conference.

“For this, it is essential that more border crossings are opened,” he said. “It is also essential to secure the distribution of humanitarian assistance in Gaza. Hamas also has a responsibility here as well as the Israeli army.”

Wagner said it was important to obtain the release of the Israeli hostages held by Hamas and to keep open the prospect of a political solution to the conflict.

Later Friday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reiterated that demand and said that “the terror organization Hamas must finally release all the remaining hostages and agree to a long-term cease-fire."

“At the same time, Israel must finally secure humanitarian supplies for the desperate people in Gaza,” he added. "Four hundred to five hundred truckloads of aid is needed every day, and it is the responsibility of the Israeli government to ensure that these deliveries arrive.”

Germany, a staunch ally of Israel, supports a revival of talks that could lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It has so far ruled out joining Norway, Ireland and Spain in recognizing Palestinian statehood, arguing that such a step should be part of the political process.

TEL AVIV, Israel — The bodies of three more hostages killed on Oct 7. were recovered overnight from Gaza, Israel’s army said Friday, as the country braces for the top United Nations court to rule on whether Israel must halt its military operations and withdraw from the enclave.

The bodies of Hanan Yablonka, Michel Nisenbaum, and Orion Hernandez Radoux were found and their families have been notified. The army said they were killed on the day of the attack at the Mefalsim intersection and their bodies were taken to Gaza.

The announcement comes less than a week after the army said it found the bodies of three other Israeli hostages killed on Oct. 7.

Hamas-led militants killed around 1,200 people, mainly civilians, and abducted around 250 others in the Oct. 7 attack. Around half of those hostages have since been freed, most in swaps for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel during a weeklong cease-fire in November.

Israel says around 100 hostages are still captive in Gaza, along with the bodies of around 30 more.

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The top United Nations court is ruling Friday on an urgent plea by South Africa to order Israel to halt its military operations in Gaza and withdraw from the enclave.

Israel is unlikely to comply with any such order. Even so, a cease-fire order by judges of the International Court of Justice would heap more pressure on an increasingly isolated Israel as it continues its military assault on Gaza following the deadly Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas-led militants.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also under heavy pressure at home to end the war. Thousands of Israelis have joined weekly demonstrations calling on the government to reach a deal to bring home Israeli hostages in Hamas captivity, fearing that time is running out.

The International Court of Justice has broad powers to order a cease-fire and other measures, but it does not have its own enforcement apparatus.

Friday’s ruling comes just days after the prosecutor of another court in The Hague, the International Criminal Court, announced he is seeking arrest warrants for Netanyahu, as well as Israel’s defense minister and three Hamas leaders.

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to vote Friday on a resolution that strongly condemns attacks on humanitarian workers and U.N. personnel. It also demands that all combatants protect them in accordance with international law.

The Swiss-sponsored resolution expresses grave concern at the growing number of attacks and threats against U.N. and humanitarian personnel and the disregard for and violations of international humanitarian law by combatants. Switzerland’s U.N. Ambassador Pascale Baeriswyl told The Associated Press on Thursday that the resolution is about protecting those who are putting their lives at risk to help people affected by armed conflict.

The draft resolution does not single out any conflict and is being voted on as battles rage in Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan, Myanmar and many other hotspots around the world.

It is the seven-month war in Gaza, however, that has seen the greatest number of attacks on U.N. and humanitarian personnel. Over 190 U.N. staff have been killed, a death toll unprecedented in the United Nations’ nearly 80-year history, according to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Palestinian women weep for loved ones, a day after they were killed by Israeli bombardment, at their funeral at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Palestinian women weep for loved ones, a day after they were killed by Israeli bombardment, at their funeral at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Mourners pray over the bodies of Palestinians, a day after they were killed by Israeli bombardment, at their funeral at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Mourners pray over the bodies of Palestinians, a day after they were killed by Israeli bombardment, at their funeral at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

The flags of Spain, Ireland, and Norway are displayed on the City Hall building in the West Bank city of Ramallah, after the three countries announced this week that they would recognize Palestinian statehood, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

The flags of Spain, Ireland, and Norway are displayed on the City Hall building in the West Bank city of Ramallah, after the three countries announced this week that they would recognize Palestinian statehood, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Israeli and American activists block the entrance to the U.S. Consulate building that houses the Palestinian Affairs Unit, calling for the United States to stop providing arms to Israel for the war in the Gaza Strip, in Jerusalem, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Israeli and American activists block the entrance to the U.S. Consulate building that houses the Palestinian Affairs Unit, calling for the United States to stop providing arms to Israel for the war in the Gaza Strip, in Jerusalem, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

The bodies of Palestinians are moved to their burial, a day after they were killed by Israeli bombardment, at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

The bodies of Palestinians are moved to their burial, a day after they were killed by Israeli bombardment, at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah, Friday, May 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

A Palestinian man walks past burning tires during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Jenin, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A Palestinian man walks past burning tires during clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Jenin, Wednesday, May 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A boy plays with his ball next to debris of a heavily damaged building after an Israeli forces raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A boy plays with his ball next to debris of a heavily damaged building after an Israeli forces raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, some are draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags during their funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, some are draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags during their funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

Palestinians mourns over the body of the doctor Ossayed Kamal Jabareen, at the government hospital in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Palestinians mourns over the body of the doctor Ossayed Kamal Jabareen, at the government hospital in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Palestinians wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Palestinians wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Gunmen march as mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, some draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags during their funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Gunmen march as mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, some draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags during their funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Relatives and supporters of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza hold photos of their loved ones during a performance calling for their return in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

Relatives and supporters of Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza hold photos of their loved ones during a performance calling for their return in Tel Aviv, Israel, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

A Palestinian man inspects the damage to a building after Israeli forces raided the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that killed and wounded multiple Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group said its fighters battled the Israeli forces. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

A Palestinian man inspects the damage to a building after Israeli forces raided the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that killed and wounded multiple Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group said its fighters battled the Israeli forces. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

After being blindfolded, a Palestinian man is detained by Israeli forces during a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

After being blindfolded, a Palestinian man is detained by Israeli forces during a raid in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A girl looks out from a window of a building damaged by shrapnels after an Israeli forces raid in the West Bank Jenin refugee camp, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A girl looks out from a window of a building damaged by shrapnels after an Israeli forces raid in the West Bank Jenin refugee camp, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A gunman holds up his weapon as mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, with some draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags, during their funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

A gunman holds up his weapon as mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians, with some draped in the Islamic Jihad militant group flags, during their funeral in the West Bank city of Jenin, Thursday, May 23, 2024. The Israeli military said Thursday it has completed a two-day operation in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinian Health Ministry says killed 12 Palestinians. Militant groups claimed at least eight of the dead as fighters, one from Hamas and seven from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

This combo from photos provided by Hostages Families Forum Headquarters shows from left, Michel Nisenbaum, 59, Hanan Yablonka, 42, and Oryon Hernandez Radoux, 30. The bodies of three more hostages killed on Oct 7. were recovered overnight from Gaza, Israel's army said Friday May 24, 2024. (Hostages Families Forum Headquarters via AP)

This combo from photos provided by Hostages Families Forum Headquarters shows from left, Michel Nisenbaum, 59, Hanan Yablonka, 42, and Oryon Hernandez Radoux, 30. The bodies of three more hostages killed on Oct 7. were recovered overnight from Gaza, Israel's army said Friday May 24, 2024. (Hostages Families Forum Headquarters via AP)

Palestinians wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

Palestinians wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip are brought to Al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Thursday, May 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana)

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