Record: 12-20 (5-13 Big 12)
Seniors losing: None. The Cowboys did dismiss three players during the season — sophomore Michael Weathers and freshmen Maurice Calloo and Kentrevious Jones.
Any NBA Bound?: None.
Any One-and-dones or early entries?: None.
Top players returning: F Cameron McGriff (12.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg), G Lindy Waters III (12.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 2.8 apg, 44.8 percent from 3), G Thomas Dziagwa (11.7 ppg, 1.5 apg, 42.5 percent from 3 and a team-leading 105- 3-pointers), G Isaac Likekele (8.7 ppg, 3.9 apg, 4.8 rpg, team leading 42 steals).
The player you don’t know about: Given that the Cowboys were down to seven scholarship players in January and had to take in walk-ons to facilitate practice and provide depth, just about every significant player on Oklahoma State’s roster is a known quantity. But the development of guard Curtis Jones should be interesting this offseason. He averaged 8.1 ppg in 23 contests. He had the third-most attempts from the 3-point line behind Dziagwa and Waters. If he can improve on his 32.5 percent shooting, he can be a more consistent factor in this offense.
Recruits already in the house: SG Marcus Watson, 6-foot-6, 205 pounds, Buford High School (Buford, Ga.); C Kalib Boone, 6-8, 190, Memorial High (Tulsa, Okla.); PF Keylan Boone, 6-6, 175, Memorial High (Tulsa, Okla.). Watson is the centerpiece of a class that 247Sports.com ranks as No. 23 in the country. Watson is a Top 100 recruit nationally and Top 11 at his position. The Boone brother are a package deal, with Kalib the higher-ranked player at the moment. But both are considered two of the top three recruits in Oklahoma.
Commitments yet to sign: Per 247Sports.com, the Cowboys have a hard commit from Avery Anderson III, a 6-2, 170-pound combo guard out of Northwest High School in Justin, Texas, about four hours south of Stillwater. The No. 12 recruit in the state of Texas committed in September but can’t sign until next month. Given the dismissals of Weathers, Calloo and Jones, Boynton should be busy the next month lining up more talent.
Summarizing the season: It was a tough one for the Cowboys, and I think everyone in Stillwater knew that going in. The Cowboys were picked as the No. 10 team in the league in the preseason coaches’ poll and they ended up a game ahead of last-place West Virginia. Boynton knew who his top three guys were coming into the season and McGriff, Waters and Dziagwa played like it. Waters and Dziagwa’s overall games showed the most growth, as McGriff was already well-developed after a solid sophomore campaign. Likekele and Anei had to start from the beginning, and the two freshmen had to learn fast. Likekele, the point guard, developed quicker than Anei, a forward. Likekele had a penchant for defense early and by season’s end he was a solid decision-maker with the ball. Anei spent the final month showing he had developed a more diverse offensive game and that he could be a feared shot blocker, with 14 blocked shots in the regular-season’s final two games to earn Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors. The problem this team had was that it just wasn’t deep enough, and that was before the dismissals. Still, the Cowboys were a hard out every game in the Big 12 and they claimed their Big 12-SEC Challenge game over South Carolina. Boynton never lost the team.
Looking ahead to 2019-20: The Cowboys should be on the upswing next season. First, their top six players are coming back and Likekele, Anei and Jones all have significant ceilings for improvement. Next, the recruiting class is going to be the best Boynton has ever assembled, and there’s room to make it better. The Cowboys may not be as attractive on the transfer market as they were last season because their starting spots look locked up, but if Boynton is able to find a Division I transfer or juco product that is an upgrade inside over Anei that’s worth a look. If this season was about hardship and adversity, then next season is shaping up to be one with significantly more hope and optimism for the folks in Stillwater. Boynton is the one Big 12 coach who is still trying to build his program and put his stamp on it. We’ll see if next season gets him one step closer. The Cowboys announced after the season that they will participate in the 2019 NIT Season Tip-Off on Thanksgiving week in New York City, with Syracuse, Ole Miss and Penn State also participating. The Cowboys also have tentative games lined up against Charleston, Wichita State, Houston and Minnesota. Additionally, the Cowboys are slated to host a game in the inaugural Big 12-Big East Challenge and are awaiting their opponent for the Big 12-SEC Challenge next Jan. 25.
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