As far as basketball players go, Rollie Castineyra is as dedicated as they come. So much so, he used to write and brush his teeth left-handed because he thought it’d strengthen his opposite hand. He also swims for cardio, and studied Steve Nash to mold his game.

Well, that obsession must’ve paid off. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Marblehead native is headed to play basketball at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Castineyra – who still can’t fathom he’s about to play for legendary coach Frank Martin at the flagship campus – committed to UMass just seven days after visiting.

“I wanted the opportunity to prove myself,” Castineyra said.

He’s going to get that chance with Martin, who helmed South Carolina in its Final Four appearance of 2017.

“Oh, man, I’m so honored to say that I can play for Frank Martin,” Castineyra said. “I’m going to listen every single time and soak it in like a sponge because he’s proven – time and time again – he can win at the highest level.”

Castineyra has played in front of Martin seven or eight times, including at South Carolina’s camp while Martin was still with the program.

“Between Frank Martin and his assistant coach Brian Steele, they must have seen me play seven or eight times,” Castineyra said. “To be honest with you, it might have been by accident. I knew they were recruiting other guys and I happened to be in the gym. Each of those times, I played very well.”

He must have made some impression. Martin told Castineyra that although he’s undersized, if he works hard, he’s exactly what the Minutemen need.

“It just makes me want to run through a brick wall for me to play for a coach like that,” Castineyra said.

All that said, this didn’t happen overnight. From Marblehead Middle School, to St. John’s Prep for two years, to Phillips Exeter Academy for another two, and to the Middlesex Magic (UAA), Castineyra has been around the block.

“I’ve always reached for some things that may have been a little bit out of my reach,” Castineyra said.

But that didn’t stop him. He worked his way to the starting lineup as a freshman at St. John’s Prep.

“I’m not sure my parents even believed me on that one, but sure enough, when the season came around, I was in the starting five,” Castineyra said.

And at The Prep, Castineyra said the school – and people – gave him all the confidence he’s ever needed.

“They always believed in me, even when I didn’t believe it myself,” Castineyra said. “I know that sounds like a cliche, but I’ve never forgotten the confidence they gave me.”

He also “would’ve played five years there” if he could.

“I absolutely loved St. John’s Prep,” Castineyra said. “It was easily one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

Despite what Castineyra can put on a highlight reel, it all starts behind the scenes. He completes two shooting sessions per day, lifts four times per week, and finds different ways to better his cardio – swimming, biking, and playing pickup basketball, to be exact.

“I just became so obsessed,” Castineyra said. “If you work hard enough, why can’t it work for anything?”

Yes, anything.

“Like a lot of basketball players, the goal is to play professionally in the NBA, but I’m not really looking at that point yet,” Castineyra said. “I’m much more worried about the now. I know there’s no next level if I can’t excel at this one.”

On top of his basketball IQ and shooting ability, Castineyra said he’s excited to bring his leadership into the Mullins Center – located in the heart of campus.

“The best quality I have is just leadership,” Castineyra said. “I think I can be a big piece on any team.”

UMass went 15-16 this past season representing the Atlantic-10 Conference, and if you ask Castineyra, he’s ready to help in any way he can.

“I’m just super excited to get started with the next step, and that’s UMass,” Castineyra said. “I really believe I can help this team win.”




  • Castineyra started playing basketball when he was three years old at his sister’s basketball games.
  • Beyond a hobby, Castineyra wanted to pursue a basketball career in seventh grade.
  • His father, Rollie, played four years with the Florida Gators, shooting 44.7 percent from the field. Castineyra will wear number 44 at UMass to “keep the legacy going.”
  • Frank Martin told Castineyra that if he works his butt off, he’ll be great.
  • “When he’s talking to me, I’m always going to be listening 100 percent,” Castineyra said of Martin.
  • Castineyra likes to eat pasta before games, adding he’ll “throw meatballs in there” if he can.
  • The old-fashioned, white UMass uniforms with cursive lettering are his favorites.
  • When asked if he knew the University’s fight song, he said no, but that he’d learn as soon as possible.
  • “He doesn’t really hand you anything,” Castineyra said of Martin. “It’s your job to take it.”