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Cade Cunningham Out, Rondel Walker Available against Iowa State

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[Pool photo by Noah Southard]

The projected No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft will miss his second straight game, but the Cowboys will get one return against the Cyclones.

Cade Cunningham will not play against Iowa State on Monday night in Ames, but Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton will have Rondel Walker available, a source told PFB. Both warmed up in Ames.

The duo missed Saturday’s game against No. 2 Baylor. Cunningham is believed to have gone through COVID protocol and had just been cleared for physical activity Saturday. OSU coach Mike Boynton said he didn’t want to rush his star back into action. Walker’s absence was credited to an arm injury.

“Today was the first day that [Cunningham] was cleared for physical activity, but he couldn’t play a game having not practiced,” Boynton said after the Baylor game. “He needed to be here, but he couldn’t play. I wasn’t gonna play him. I’m not gonna make him dress, and then be tempted to put him in when they’re making a run. I’m not doing that.

“So the thought is, [Saturday] was a good opportunity for him to maybe get some reps, shoot some balls, which he has not done in a week plus — and get his heart going a little bit and see how he feels.”

After the Baylor loss, Boynton said it was “50/50 at best” that Cunningham played Monday night. Now we know which 50 prevailed.

Cunningham entered Monday as the Big 12’s leading scorer, averaging 17.8 points per game. He is also second among Cowboys in rebounding this year at 6.2 boards a game, and he is second on the team with 1.2 steals a game.

Walker has been a sparkplug off OSU’s bench. Also a freshman, Walker is averaging 9.1 points and 2.8 rebounds a game. His rangy length has also given teams fits at the top of the Cowboys’ 2-3 zone.

Iowa State is 2-7 on the year and 0-5 in Big 12 play. The Cyclones have had COVID issues of their own and haven’t played a game since Jan. 9. Iowa State is also 0-5 in Big 12 play this season.

The Cyclones announced Monday evening that they had seven players out, including four starters. Rasir Bolton is the only regular starter available to ISU coach Steve Prohm against the Cowboys. The Cyclones have the Big 12 minimum six scholarship players available Monday.

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