Chelsea’s second all-time leader scorer hopes to lead a resurgence as head coach
Cesar Castro’s basketball career at Chelsea High School was as good as it gets.
A dynamic, long-range shooting, 6-foot guard, Castro was a four-year starter and highly regarded by all observers as a freshman phenom, sophomore sensation, junior jewel, and senior superstar.
His scoring exploits – 1,252 career points –
are second only to the great Craig Walker, a 1981 graduate.
The awards were plentiful. Castro was a three-time Commonwealth Athletic Conference All-Star, CAC Most Valuable Player, and two-time MVP of the CAC All-Star Game. He later played prep school basketball at Lee Academy in Maine and became an All-Region backcourtman in the Bunker Hill Community College men’s basketball program.
Today, Castro is hoping to recapture Chelsea High basketball’s past glories as the new head coach of the boys varsity team.
Chelsea High Director of Athletics Amanda Alpert selected Castro as head coach in June, continuing her well-received trend of naming CHS alumni to leadership positions in the Red Devils’ sports programs.
“I love the way Ms. Alpert runs the athletic program, and I thank her for the opportunity to let me be head coach and run this program,” said Castro. “She believed in me, and I hope I can lead this program in the right direction.”
Building a winning program
A 2010 graduate, Castro has been an assistant coach at Chelsea High since the 2014-15 season, working on the staff of then-head coach Jay Seigal.
“ Jay’s a great guy. He was my high school basketball coach and I admire him a lot,” said Castro. “I can call him to this day for advice, and he’s there for me. I was able to coach at all levels, freshman, JV, and varsity (assistant) with Jay.”
Castro, who turns 32 in January, is quickly making his own mark on the program, trying to establish togetherness and team spirit among all players in the program.
Castro took his team on a pre-season field trip to Springfield, where the team played a game against Springfield Central and toured the Basketball Hall of Fame building.
Castro is hoping to lead Chelsea to a state tournament berth, which would require 10 victories in the regular season.
“We’re in the Greater Boston League now, and it’s a tough, Division 1 league,” noted Castro. “We’ve scheduled some tough non-league games against Cambridge, Watertown, and East Boston as well. My whole motto is: to be the best, you have to play against the best.”
Castro said he is coaching a young group, but he is seeing improvement every day in practice. “I have a lot of trust in these guys,” said Castro. “They don’t know how special they’re going to be, but I feel we’re going to shock a lot of people this season. We want to be one of the best programs around.”
Having faith in his assistant coaching staff
Cesar Castro is being assisted in the Chelsea program by Armani Cheek, a 2020 graduate and former standout guard for the Red Devils.
“Armani is my former player and was one of the first eighth graders to start on the JV team,” said Castro. “He’s just a great person. He played basketball with intensity and knows the game, and that’s why I have him on my staff. This is our first year coaching together, so we’re going to be learning together.”
Other CHS assistant coaches are JJ Rivera, Castro’s former CHS teammate, JC Sanchez, and Kyle Umemba, who excelled at Buckingham Brown and Nichols. Castro and Umemba are co-directors of the annual Let It Fly Classic, which has become a summertime staple for the best high school players in the region.
“Kyle is a great, high-energy guy who lifts up everyone’s spirits,” said Castro about his close friend.
Castro believes the team is playing unselfish basketball and working hard in practice.
Does he have a future “Cesar Castro” 1,000-point scorer in the mix?
“We have some really good outside shooters,” said Castro. “I love shooting the ‘3’, so my whole take is we’re going to play fast, run and gun, and play hard.”
His love of basketball and dedication to Chelsea High students undisputed, Castro is proud to join such past head coaches as Jay Seigal, Frank DePatto, Jack Niven, Paul Drob, and Arnie Goodman, as leaders of the program.
And Cesar Castro would like nothing more than to see one of his players join him on the 1,000-point banner that hangs proudly in the Saul Nechtem Gymnasium – and hopefully adjacent to his team’s GBL championship flag.