Record: 21-15 (8-10 Big 12)
NIT: def. Florida Gulf Coast, 80-69 (first round); def. Stanford, 71-65 (second round); lost to Western Kentucky, 92-84 (quarterfinals)
Seniors losing: G Kendall Smith (13.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 41.0 percent from 3-point line, 2.9 apg), G/F Jeffrey Carroll (15.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg), F Mitchell Solomon (8.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg).
Any NBA Bound?: All three departing Cowboys could find their way onto Summer League rosters. Carroll probably has the best chance of the three.
Any One-and-dones or early entries?: None
Transfers: G Brandon Averette announced last week his intention to transfer.
Top players returning: G/F Tavarius Shine (9.7 ppg, 1.7 agp), F Cameron McGriff (8.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg), G Lindy Waters III (8.7 ppg, 2.0 apg), F/C Yakumba Sima (3.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg).
The players you don’t know about: C Lucas N’Guessan. The Cowboys need some height and N’Guessan would be the ticket at 7-foot, assuming he develops this offseason and gets more consistent playing time next year. G Michael Weathers. The Miami (OH) transfer was the Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year in 2016-17 after scoring 16.7 points per game. He led the Redhawks in four statistical categories and pitched in 4.2 rebounds per game. He’ll play a huge role with Smith and Carroll leaving.
Recruits already in the house: The Cowboys don’t have a recruit signed as of yet.
Commitments yet to sign: 247Sports.com has the Cowboys with hard commits from PF Yor Anei of Overland Park, Kansas (Shawnee Mission South HS) and PF Duncan Demuth of Seminole, Florida (Seminole HS). While neither is ranked particularly high nationally, Anei is the No. 1 recruit in Kansas.
Summarizing the season: The Cowboys exceeded expectations, considering the Cowboys were last in the Big 12 preseason coaches’ poll and head coach Mike Boynton Jr. took over as head coach last spring after Brad Underwood’s departure. The Cowboys ended up with a winning record, a Big 12 Tournament win over OU and a solid NIT run on the backs of their three seniors — Smith (who was actually a graduate transfer), Carroll and Solomon. McGriff and Shine took turns giving the Cowboys solid play, either off the bench or as a starter, and Averette shined at times as Smith’s immediate backup. Waters worked his way into the starting lineup as well. All of that was needed as Boynton had to dismiss Davon Dillard and Zach Dawson in December. This was not a team that would be described as incredibly gifted in any one area. But Boynton molded them into a tough, intriguing unit that could play with anyone in the Big 12.
Looking ahead to 2018-19: This will be a season of high turnover for the Cowboys, but Boynton’s new six-year contract extension will provide stability. Averette’s departure was surprising, but it gives Boynton an additional scholarship to take on the recruiting trail. With the departures of his three seniors, plus the dismissals of Dillard and Dawson, he has a lot to offer and could dip into the Juco ranks to find immediate depth. It will be interesting to see how Oklahoma State’s success and Boynton’s extension play on the recruiting trail leading up to signing day. Shine (who has to decide if he wants to use his final year of eligibility, as he participated in Senior Day activities) and McGriff are probably the most skilled returning players, while Waters becomes the offense’s top outside threat. Weather is the X-factor. He put up great numbers in the MAC, but the Big 12 is a huge step up. Athletically the Cowboys need help. This feels like a Cowboys team that might stand in place for another year, based on what they have coming back, unless they land a big recruit or transfer in the next month. If this season’s result represents standing in place next season, that wouldn’t be so bad as Boynton continues to build his program.