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10 Thoughts on Cade Cunningham’s Commitment to Oklahoma State

Every angle covered on Cade’s commitment, and what it means.

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There I was on Tuesday early evening about to flip the lights off in the shed and head into the not shed and see what kind of scarecrows and pumpkins our kids drew for me that afternoon. Then a panic message from our beat writer, Marshall Scott: CADE HAS A COUNTDOWN ON HIS IG LIVE THIS IS NOT A DRILL SIREN EMOJIS.

Not at 5:45 on a Tuesday, right? It’s just a pre-college season troll job or an announcement about The Announcement. It’s certainly not going to be the news drop we’ve all been dancing around for the past few months … right?

Not right.

I ran in, grabbed my kids and hollered about some nonsense like, “Biggest 10-minute stretch for OSU basketball in a decade” or something maybe even more ridiculous than that.

Then I hopped on the 50-second Instagram roller coaster, thought four different times John Calipari was going to step out of the background and into the frame and finally ran back into the shed after Cade said, “Go Pokes!”

“Thanks for joining us,” said Mrs. Pistols as I left.

He’s going to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft, I thought. She does not understand!

Marshall Scott was in his car outside media availability at the Sherman Smith Center. He said he started yelling into the void when Cade said, “Blood is thicker …” He knew.

He knew at that moment that the most important stake of the Mike Boynton era had just been driven into the ground. There was pre-Cade, and now there is post-Cade. He is the fulcrum of the Boynton era and quite possibly the most important recruit in OSU basketball history.

10 thoughts on a monumental day for Boynton and the Pokes.

1. Biggest OSU Sports Commit … Ever?

What’s the list? Daton Fix? Johny Hendricks? Jake Rosholt? Maybe AJ Ferrari? Who else? Dez? Bobby Reid?

Reid was the 35th-best prospect in the country, which is a big deal but not as big of a deal as a player who’s going to potentially be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. The previous biggest basketball recruit was Le’Bryan Nash who was No. 8 in the nation. Le’Bryan never felt like this.

As Seth Duckworth pointed out to me, Fix and Ferrari were both No. 1 overall recruits so they can more reasonably lay claim to the throne than Cunningham, but 1. the rankings for this hoops class aren’t final and 2. basketball carries so much more weight than wrestling just like football carries so much more weight than basketball.

Shout out to Gerald Green and Matt Holliday, two elite recruits who committed to OSU and both played the same number of minutes as I did for OSU. There’s a real case to be made here that in the modern era — since we’ve been keeping track of these things — Cade Cunningham is the biggest commitment in OSU sports history.

2. 42

That’s a dominoes game. Marshall Scott already went deep on this, but if OSU goes — let’s just dream a little — Rondel Walker-Cade-Bryce Thompson-J.T. Thor, that’s a class that would have ranked fifth nationally in 2019 and 2018 and fourth nationally in 2017. So if that happens for this class, you’re looking at adding a top-five group (I’m weak!) to …

• Isaac Likekele
• Keylan Boone
• Kalib Boone
• Avery Anderson
• Chris Harris
• Yor
• Hidde the goat
• Marcus Watson?

That’s a Big 12 title contender and top-three or top-four seed in the dance. Again, there are a few pieces still to fall, but a lot fewer than there were this time last season.

3. No. 1 Draft Pick

I REPEAT CADE CUNNINGHAM IS PROJECTED BY THE DRAFT EXPRESS FOLKS WHO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE DRAFT THAN I KNOW ABOUT ANYTHING TO BE THE NO. 1 PICK IN THE 2021 NBA DRAFT.

 

 

Here’s a confession: the NBA is my guilty pleasure. I love the content. Love the podcasts. Love the NBA Draft. One of the things I keep going back to with all of this is how much guys I follow (mostly Ringer folks) are going to be talking about Cunningham and OSU over the next 18 months. It’s going to be incredible how much attention OSU is going to get as a program. He is a tide that lifts so many different boats, including this website.

And if they get Bryce Thompson — another potential lottery pick — forget about it.

4. Kentucky Tears

They are sweet and I enjoy the taste of them. The links to various Kentucky sites and message boards in our Cade Cunningham thread tonight are astonishing to read and indulge in. Check them out here, and if you can’t see them because you’re not a PFB+ subscriber, become a PFB+ subscriber! Half off our yearly plan right here using the code HALFOFF. If we get to 700 by midnight tonight we’re giving away season tickets to OSU hoops this year. We’re eight subs away — let’s go!

5. Ride the Coaster 🎢

Boy, I did. The last 60 days have been a circus. Some of that has been behind the scenes but most of it has been in front. In the Chamber, at the end of last week, Boone dropped a nugget so spicy Wendy’s threatened to sue us from a source about something going down with Cade in the next few days. As it turns out … 🎯

I believed it as much as you can believe anything in recruiting and mostly because I would believe anything this source said and write it as fact. But recruiting is insane, and if you believe what was being written elsewhere, John Calipari was leaving a portion of his will to the Cunningham estate (feels like a recruiting violation).

The thing that really had me reeling is when Evan Daniels and Jerry Meyer both rubber-stamped UK for Cade. Those dudes don’t miss on this stuff.

Thankfully this time, they missed.

6. Cannen

I know people are mad about the Cannen link, especially when Cade went with the “blood is thicker than water” line. But this is part of the deal. It’s not nefarious. It’s not illegal. It’s a worthwhile gamble that has to pay off. The risk is really high, which is why the reward sometimes feels unfair to those who don’t receive it. That’s the nature of high levels of exposure though.

I also think there’s a chance Cannen could still be an assistant at OSU when Cade is averaging 21-7-5 for the Pistons in four years. Boynton knows what it means to go from nothing to everything, which is the equivalent of what Cannen did in the assistant coaching world. He’ll get a chance to prove himself, and if he does, I think he stays.

7. Butterfly Effect

Mike Boynton is now a guy who gets guys. If Cade does lead to Bryce Thompson which leads to the Boynton floodgates down the road, then who even cares about the single season Cade is in Stillwater. I mean, I care a lot because it’s going to be a hell of a thing to cover and enjoy, but the point here is that Cade is a gateway.

Like I said off the top, this is a legitimate stake-in-the-ground moment for Boynton that justifies all the hype and all of the work he put in. Up to this point, the biggest thing Boynton had done is, what, land the twins? Get Avery Anderson? I’m not saying I didn’t see the trajectory here because it was there to be seen. But this is a real moment in a way that the other moments have simply pointed to the real moment. It’s not the last one of these either.

We are a school that produces lottery picks (or No. 1 picks) is an arrow Boynton is about to be able to add to the recruiting quiver. Which is kind of like giving somebody in the Civil War an airplane to fly. Feels a little unfair.

8. [KG voice] Anything is Possible!

Man, I thought this was just the coolest. I don’t mean this to roll on Gundy because Boynton can only hope to accomplish what Gundy has accomplished, but it’s refreshing as hell to hear an OSU coach say, “You know what, we can be the best program in the country.” You know who else started saying that when it sounded like complete lunacy? This dude.

 

(Also I know it was cheesy, but I thought that video was pretty great too).

9. Let’s Work?

Recruiting is a long game. Boynton knows this better than anyone, and it’s why we saw more photos of his Js in the air than on the ground over the past few years. Recruiting a lights-out program is a lot more than hitting a few dudes with @s on Twitter and whirling the chopper out of the hanger a few times a year.

Boynton has demonstrated in a way I didn’t really understand he would demonstrate that he truly understands the work needed to put into building something brick by brick and the willingness to do it even when I’m sure it’s not all that fun.

10. Kansas Sliver

This is not an original take. Guerin Emig wrote about it the other day, and I completely agreed with it. Kansas (whose tears I enjoy nearly as much as the Kentucky ones) is slipping. Not a lot. But the stranglehold isn’t what it used to be. They lost 10 games last season for just the second time since 2000. They’re currently ranked No. 7 in Big 12 recruiting for next year (with multiple recruits). The not-quite-black-but-definitely-gray cloud that’s been following them for a few years remains.

It’s always dangerous to pronounce a monster like KU dead because they aren’t a monster as much as they are a ghost. And no matter how this goes, they’ll always maintain a floor higher than I could reasonably hope for in Stillwater. But there’s at least a crack in the door. Boynton knows it. Or he’s recruiting like he knows it. And he’s running right for it, which is a foolish thing to do unless you have the goods to back it all up. That’s the thing though. He does. And he will.

You don’t want to miss if you come at KU because if you miss, it can go quite badly in a hurry. Thankfully — as he’s proven in two and a half years on the job — missing appears to be the one thing Mike Boynton is quite terrible at.

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35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. OSUfinalfour

    November 7 at 1:29 pm

    Do our fans show up to the games and support this team though? That is still a big question.

    • Cowboydroid

      November 7 at 1:56 pm

      If Boynton can win with them, that’s a yes. Put together a nice non-conference record, and they’ll be there. We’ve never had a problem filling up GIA for a team that’s winning. The Marcus Smart season had really good attendance.

      Stumble along in the non-conference though, and Boynton will have a tougher time convincing them.

    • TeaTown Cowboy

      November 7 at 1:54 pm

      They will now that the Thunder are doomed to, hopefully at least, .400 winning percentage.

    • richard kennedy

      November 7 at 1:31 pm

      Chicken or egg?

      The fanbase that was wasn’t lost in a vacuum. There was cause and effect.

  2. Mike Linville

    November 7 at 1:30 pm

    Some thoughts…

    -His name isn’t in ink, yet, on a letter of intent to Oklahoma State
    -The pressure that folks are placing on this young man (Changing an entire program) are a heck of a lot to live up to
    -Look at how the 2005 class ended up when dust had completely settled

    Not being a downer, by any stretch, but a tap of the brakes might be warranted.

    • Cowboydroid

      November 7 at 1:56 pm

      The 2005 class was a different animal. Different circumstances. The NBA 1-year rule wasn’t in effect. Eddie was the coach, then things happened and we had a coaching carousel. Despite all that, we’ve still been able to draw in good classes over the years.

      Obviously, the next step is for Boynton to prove he can make winners out of this group of highly rated recruits. If he can do that, we’re golden. If he can’t, well, that would obviously be a problem.

  3. Class of 1970

    November 7 at 1:30 pm

    Grabbing Cade is so much bigger than wrestling getting Fix and Ferrari. The reason being that Cowboy wrestling has in the past signed the number one ranked guy. In addition, OSU wrestling is expected to attract the top recruits. But OSU basketball has never signed a top recruit and has never been expected to ever sign the number one guy. So this really is no contest here. This surpasses everything in the history of OSU sports. Dayton Fix and A.J. Ferrari being on the same team are still not enough potential points to win it all. Takes a lot more top guys to do it all in wrestling. But a Cade Cunningham with a good supporting cast can make a real deep run at the NCAA tournament.

  4. Name Here

    November 7 at 1:30 pm

    Will there be transfers outbound due to upgrading the team again? Will we be starting over at Point Guard in 2 years, or will coach go back-to-back 1 & done at Point?? 🙂

  5. ChanceDM

    November 7 at 1:30 pm

    This is great. One of your best pieces. Your enthusiasm and excitement really shows through here.

  6. tomg

    November 7 at 1:30 pm

    What MB is doing is the same thing OU did to become competitive with UT in football decades ago. This is that big IMO.

  7. richard kennedy

    November 7 at 1:30 pm

    The biggest OSU sports commit ever: Barry Sanders.

    Recruiting Stars do not necessarily translate to reality.

    • Darryl

      November 7 at 2:00 pm

      Nope. Mike Gundy is the biggest OSU commit ever. No way he is OSU’s head coach unless he is an alum.

    • TeaTown Cowboy

      November 7 at 1:54 pm

      True, something I try to tell these yokels in love w/ recruiting stars. The powers that be need to revisit recruiting classes AFTER the fact to see how those grades have changed. If not for Barry (and of course T. Boone’s ducat$) we’d probably still be a .500 team. But I want to point out we had a stud already at RB in Thurman Thomas. If he doesn’t hurt his knee in 1986…dude goes off as one of the best ever. Already had one 1,600-yard season and followed up the injury season with another.

      • Les Miles

        November 7 at 1:55 pm

        Higher recruiting classes have seemed to work out well for OU, Baylor, and Oregon.

  8. 6 @ A TIME

    November 7 at 1:31 pm

    Very, very good stuff, Kyle.

  9. Pokelahoma

    November 7 at 1:31 pm

    1. Biggest OSU Sports Commit … Ever?

    Beyond a doubt right? All due to respect to Mr. Ferrari #1s SHOULD regularly be considering OkState wrestling. The way basketball recruiting seems to work this absolutely has the ability to change the direction of a program that has been down more often than not the last 15 years.

  10. Les Miles

    November 7 at 1:31 pm

    Mike Gundy “We just can’t get them to come here”

    Mike Boynton “I took Boone’s advice and it worked. Best commitment in OSU basketball history is coming here”

    • Chris Baker

      November 7 at 1:32 pm

      It’s totally the same to fill 13 scholarships as it is to fill 85. I love how you ignore reality so often just to push the same dumb @$$ narratives. OSU was a borderline blue blood in basketball at our height, football has never had even almost that same status. Football recruiting and basketball recruiting are as different as the games themselves, but don’t let facts get in the way of saying the same dumb sh!t over and over again.

      • Cowboydroid

        November 7 at 2:00 pm

        Way to completely miss the point.

      • Les Miles

        November 7 at 1:56 pm

        You’ve totally missed the point as Cowboydroid said. I felt like you might be smart enough to figure this out. Now it has become obvious that others must do the thinking for you.

        I decided to compare Gundy vs Boynton in recruiting. You claim that it’s unfair to compare basketball scholarships to football scholarships even though there are more 4 and 5 star recruits in football.

        So let’s take a look here:

        Gundy- He has signed 62 players in the last three recruiting cycles and only 6 are rated a four star or higher. He has never signed a five star in his career. This gives Gundy roughly one four star player or higher for every ten players he has on the roster.

        Boynton- So far he has signed 11 players in the last three recruiting cycles and 4 of them are a four star or higher. He just signed the best HS player in the country. This gives Boynton roughly four 4 star players or higher for every ten players.

        You act like OSU basketball has been a top 25 program over the past 10 years, but then like so many others you claim the football program has been a top 25 program over the past 10 years.

        Which one is it? So if OSU has been better in football than basketball over the past decade shouldn’t Gundy be doing better on the recruiting trail?

        You claim my narrative is stupid without actually doing any kind of analysis yourself. I would just ask that if you reply to a point I’m trying to make at the very least bring me some kind of credibility to make you’re argument.

        Thank You

  11. richard kennedy

    November 7 at 1:32 pm

    Try to imagine the PFB knees when the boys see Cade and Spence together in the same room…

    Hopefully there will be some wheelchairs handy.

  12. Alum in AZ

    November 7 at 1:32 pm

    Good job including Fix and Ferrari in this write-up. They certainly deserve it. Obviously wish Dax Hill could have been included too… certainly didn’t seem like lack of effort or desire in that case. As for basketball, I am really looking forward to watching THIS basketball season… and can’t wait for next season as well!

    • TeaTown Cowboy

      November 7 at 1:55 pm

      Dax needs to cut his losses and transfer after this season. UM is a dumpster fire.

  13. Sonic the Hedgehog

    November 7 at 1:32 pm

    Man Ford really ruined Nash.

    • Cowboydroid

      November 7 at 1:56 pm

      Not sure sure about that. Ford probably didn’t do enough to help him succeed, but Nash was probably rated a little high. His game and size didn’t translate well to the NBA. He was a very good college athlete, but that doesn’t always guarantee professional success.

      He’s doing very well overseas now though and it’s able to give his family a good life. That’s what matters most.

      • Sonic the Hedgehog

        November 7 at 1:56 pm

        That’s good. Very happy for him.

  14. looking up

    November 7 at 1:32 pm

    #8 — Anything is possible but one thing is for sure if you don’t believe you can achieve something and never try…you never will! Coach B is swinging for the stars and he just landed another one!

    • JT

      November 7 at 2:00 pm

      Gotta have high goals. Not just recruit guys that “fit your culture”. It’s hard work but that’s why you get paid the big $$$.

  15. Kyle Boone Looks Like a Weasel

    November 7 at 1:32 pm

    Great write up!

    I have an interesting thought though- if Likekele kills it this season (he will) I don’t know that potentially declaring for the draft is out of the question. He can hang around the top recruits in the nation as shown over the summer with the National Team. It would be cool to see him with the likes of Cunningham, but it is also his time show out this season and potentially head to the next level

    • Gallagher? I Hardly Know Her!

      November 7 at 2:01 pm

      I’ve seen at least one mock draft that has him in the early 40s already if I remember right? Which is awesome for him! Go pokes, go ice, go Cade!

    • KC

      November 7 at 2:00 pm

      I love Ice, but I don’t think he’s NBA ready. The shot is still janky and his athleticism is not off the charts like some other guys. I think he’s a 4-year guy with an outside shot to play meaningful minutes in the NBA if he can shoot the 3 efficiently by the time he leaves.

    • Josh Roberts

      November 7 at 2:00 pm

      Pretty sure Ice and Cade played together on the USA team already so they have experience playing together.

    • Cowboydroid

      November 7 at 1:33 pm

      He’s still young and I think the team would have to at least make a splash in the tournament or compete for the conference title before that becomes a possibility. He’ll be an excellent player for us, but I’m not sure he’s what most NBA teams are looking for right now.

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