Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham declared for the 2021 NBA Draft on Thursday, something that was widely expected from one of the top freshmen in college basketball.
Cunningham loses his final three years of eligibility as a result. But Cunningham, who was the No. 1 player in the 2020 national recruiting class, is expected to be among the top picks in the NBA Draft. Many mock drafts expect him to go No. 1 overall.
Cunningham, a 6-foot-8 guard, averaged 20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He earned All-Big 12 Freshman of the Year Honors, along with selection to the All-Big 12 Freshman Team, All-Big 12 Newcomer Team and the All-Big 12 First Team. He was also named the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Year.
Cunningham has been one of the most-watched players in the country this season. After the NCAA banned the Cowboys from the postseason in 2020, Cunningham chose to honor is commitment to the program (his brother, Cannen, is an assistant coach on head coach Mike Boynton Jr’s staff). The Cowboys played in the NCAA Tournament, in part due to appealing the ban and in part due to Cunningham’s consistent play.
The Cowboys made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017 with Cunningham as its leading scorer, reaching the second round of the tournament.
He also remains a candidate for the Naismith Award and the Wooden Award, each given to the nation’s best overall player. He also remains a contender for the award given to the nation’s top freshman player.
The NBA Draft is expected to take place in July.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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