Catching Up On Oklahoma State Basketball’s Scholarship Situation

Written by Sam Aldrich

Since Mike Boynton Jr. took over as head basketball coach in Stillwater last month, there’s been a lot of moving parts in regards to next year’s roster, per usual after a coaching change. All-Big 12 First-Teamer Jawun Evans declared for the draft and hired an agent, moving on to bigger and better things in the NBA. He gone.

All-Big 12 Second-Teamer Jeffrey Carroll also declared for the draft, but has since pulled his name out and will return for his senior season in Stillwater. That’s a huge win for Boynton Jr. in his first season. Carroll, who averaged 17.5 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game last year, will lead the charge for the 2017-2018 squad and will get plenty of buzz as a potential Big 12 Player of the Year.

Of the incoming 2017-2018 recruits, only 4-star guard Zack Dawson has reaffirmed his commitment. 4-star guard Amauri Hardy “re-opened his recruitment”, code for “he ain’t coming to Stillwater,” and Dawson’s teammate, forward Latravian Glover, has been mostly quiet. But it doesn’t sound promising.

There’s also been some movement on transfers. Incoming sophomore St. John’s center Yankuba Sima will stick around with Boynton at the helm. The 6-foot-11 big man will be eligible to play around the start of conference play at the beginning of the second semester.

Additionally, Boynton Jr. received a big boost with the transfer of Michael Weathers, the MAC freshman of the year in 2016-2017. Weathers averaged a cool 16.7 points per game, 4.8 assists per game, 1.9 steals per game, and 1.4 blocks per game.

Weathers followed his old coach at Miami of Ohio, John Cooper, who recently joined the staff as an assistant. The country’s 9th highest scoring freshman will take up a scholarship spot, but unfortunately will have to sit out the 2017-2018, eligible to play in 2018-2019 as a redshirt sophomore. He’ll have three years of eligibility left.

There’s also been talk of Cal State Northridge graduate transfer Kendall Smith coming to visit Stillwater. This one’s heating up, as Smith cancelled his visit to Colorado and will head to Stillwater instead.

Smith would be a huge boost to the backcourt. As a junior, he averaged career highs in points (16.8), assists (4.8), and rebounds (4.0) per game, and had career high shooting percentages including from three (38%) and from the line (76%). He could step in and start for a year while allowing Dawson to develop as a freshman and keep Brandon Averette as a backup, bridging the gap for when Weathers is eligible. More to come on him.

So what does the current roster look like? Here’s a breakdown (scholarship players are in bold).

Seniors Juniors Sophomores Freshmen
F Jeffrey Carroll F Davon Dillard G Lindy Waters III G Zack Dawson
F Mitch Solomon F Will Lienhard G Brandon Averette F Latravian Glover (?)
G Tavarius Shine   G Thomas Dziagwa C Souleymane Diakite
    F Cameron McGriff  
    C Lucas N’Guessan  
    C Yankuba Sima  
    G Trey Reeves  
    G Michael Weathers (2018-19)  

The wild cards here are Shine (will he transfer?), Glover (will he come to Stillwater?) and Smith (will he come to Stillwater from Cal State Northridge?). You only get one of the three because teams are limited to 13 scholarship players. Right now, with Shine and without Glover and Smith, OSU is at 13. But why would Smith be visiting OSU if they know he puts them over the limit?

The alternative is maybe someone we aren’t considering (Dziagwa? N’Guessan? McGriff?) will transfer. All we know right now is that OSU, as its roster currently stands, does not have any scholarships left to give to Glover or Smith. That could change (quickly) of course.

I expect to see this shake out over the next few weeks, and the roster will be just about complete for the 2017-18 season. One thing is for certain — Mike Boynton Jr. will lean heavily on that sophomore class to produce and carry the Cowboys next year, supporting Jeffrey Carroll.

  • BBJD

    I know we are all upset and the sky is falling but looking at that Depth Chart made me think maybe this will work out alright. The amount of Sophs on this team is insane and none look like guys who will go pro early. Bring in a stud 2018 or 2019 recruit and you will have a very strong older roster who has played in the same system for 3/4 years to compliment them.

    The future of Okstate basketball still looks a lot brighter then it did a year and a few months ago.

    • Stepdaddy

      Could not agree more. With this roster, I would expect OSU to be very competitive for the next couple of years. If Mitch Solomn makes the same strides next year that he made last year he will be hellavu player. If he just continues were he left of OK will be in good shape. I hope at least one other center progresses to the point where we have a legitimate 2 man rotation in the middle. Other then Boynton’s lack of game management experience there is no reason not to be excited.

    • Stepdaddy

      The sophomores growing together should make for a great team next next year. Plus add some random 5 star and we might be back on track.

  • Stepdaddy

    I’ve heard the Shine back injury is BAD. Like career ending bad.

    • spokepokes

      I’ve heard both sides of this. But if it really is career ending bad, would the school remove his scholly? Is there a program for injured players to retain their scholly without counting against the team?

      • scott

        If he’s not a member of the team, surely he’d not count against the limit. I’m guessing that this is where a general (non-athletic) scholarship from the university comes into play. More of an accounting exercise than any sort of scholarship limit.

        • Shane

          I know football has medical scholarships that don’t count against their 85. Bet basketball has the same.

      • OSU-Bill

        Generally, each NCAA Div. 1 institution is only allowed to grant athletic scholarships as allowed by the NCAA manual, and each athletic scholarship granted counts against each individual sport’s scholarship limit (which basically only means football and basketball) unless exempted. An institution may (but is not required) to grant an athletic scholarship to a student if the student “becomes injured or ill to the point that he or she apparently never again will be able to participate in intercollegiate athletics . . . .” NCAA Division I Manual Para. Those except scholarships are not counted against the individual sport’s scholarship limitation.

    • David Einstein

      Yikes. That’s bad to hear.

  • KLG0919

    Thanks much for this update. Provides more clarity into a murky situation. Seems obvious now someone on the current roster won’t be returning since we’re actively pursuing the transfer. Time will tell.

  • That Guy

    So are we going to put “Jr.” on the end of every reference to our head basketball coach?

    • Uncle Dan

      If so, let’s just call him MBJ and move on with our lives…

  • David Einstein

    I hope Shine stays. He’s a good fit for gritty man to man defense.

  • LG

    There has been zero news about Soulemayne Diakite as well. Is he still coming?

  • Shanewill3

    Any scenario in which Mcgriff left would be a massive mistake, he has so much potential. I can’t imagine that is even a remote possibility.

  • Kenny

    I am fairly sure that Sima will be a jr, not a soph. I think he loses a year by transferring at the semester.

    • Clark Matthews

      No, because he won’t play the Fall semester.

      • spokepokes

        So wait, we won’t have him during NONCON play then?

        • Clark Matthews


  • Pokes

    I think shine will be a junior next year.

    • Pokes

      redshirt and medical redshirt years

  • ChittoHarjo

    Are any paying their own way – walk-on types? Can they split scholarships?
    What are the rules for transfers? While they sit out, can they actually be on a regular scholly?
    If someone cannot play because of medical conditions, they can have a scholarship that does not count toward the limit – from what I’ve read Alabama football does it all the time – take the medical scholarship and get off our 85 limit (actually there was some controversy because Sabin would force kids to take it and not allow them to transfer so it didn’t hurt his graduation score – been a few years so may have missed some nuances but that was the gist of the article).