Connect with us


‘He’s the future of this deal’: Garrison Getting Better Through Gauntlet of Experienced Bigs

‘He gets better because he’s got humility and he works his butt off and he doesn’t complain.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Three of the four Big 12 centers Brandon Garrison has been matched up against have played more than 100 career games; Garrison has now played 17.

The one time Garrison was matched up against a center with a similar experience level, the Cowboys had their best game of conference play — a 75-70 overtime loss to Baylor. That was also Garrison’s best game to this point in his young career, as he scored a career-high 20 points to go with eight rebounds and four blocks.

That matchup was against Baylor freshman Yves Missi. Since, Garrison has played Texas Tech’s Warren Washington (125 games played), Iowa State’s Robert Jones (130 games played) and Kansas’ Hunter Dickinson (111 games played). Those have gone … less well.

OSU has been blown out by an average of 21.7 points in the past three games while Garrison has averaged five points and six rebounds a contest. But there is reason to believe Garrison is taking steps forward. The 6-foot-11, rim-running McDonald’s All-American held his own against Dickinson (an All-American) on Tuesday night in Gallagher-Iba Arena, scoring 10 points to go with five rebounds.

“He’s the future of this deal — there’s no question about it,” OSU coach Mike Boynton said. “… As hard as it is [playing against these experienced centers], I’m sure how mentally draining it is for him, like these things are good for him. It’s hard to say that in a loss, but it’s reality. If he doesn’t get in and learn what it takes to win at this level, to compete with guys like that, then he doesn’t grow as fast as he has so far.”

Here is a look at the Big 12’s starting centers with their number of career games played:

Name School Games Played
Will McNair Jr. Kansas State 132
Robert Jones Iowa State 130
Warren Washington Texas Tech 125
Dylan Disu Texas 118
Hunter Dickinson Kansas 111
Jesse Edwards West Virginia 105
Sam Godwin Oklahoma 99
Noah Waterman BYU 94
Viktor Lakhin Cincinnati 79
Ibrahima Diallo UCF 76
Ja’Vier Francis Houston 69
Ernest Udeh Jr. TCU 47
Brandon Garrison Oklahoma State 17
Yves Missi Baylor 16

After having already played the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 5 experienced bigs in the Big 12, Garrison will get his shot at No. 1 on Saturday, as the Cowboys head to Manhattan to face off against Will McNair Jr. and the Wildcats. Then Garrison will get to return home Tuesday to face Ernest Udeh Jr. and TCU — a center with much less experience than what he has been facing.

Despite being young in a land of old 7-footers, Garrison ranks third in the Big 12 in true shooting percentage, according to KenPom. He also ranks 11th in defensive rebound percentage, tops in the league in free-throw rate and third in blocks. Sure, those haven’t equated to wins, but it shows Garrison has what it takes.

And Garrison will continue to get a lot of minutes. Jacksonville transfer center Mike Marsh averaged 10.4 points a game in OSU’s first five games of the season, but his production has taken a major dip since, and so have his minutes. He is playing just eight minutes a game in Big 12 play, where he has averaged 1.3 points and two rebounds. On top of that, NC State transfer big Isaiah Miranda stepped away from the team within the past week. Miranda had a lot of upside, but he played just 16 total minutes with the Pokes.

A worry for Garrison’s development could soon be motivation. The Cowboys are the only team without a Big 12 win, and Tuesday night’s loss to Kansas pushed OSU below .500 on the season at 8-9. But by the sound of the way his coach talks about him, it doesn’t sound like motivation will be an issue for the former Del City star.

“His confidence is still growing every game he plays,” Boynton said. “… We’re gonna look up one day, and, we hope, Garrison is gonna be the guy doing that against a younger guy himself. I’m proud of the progress he’s making. He gets better because he’s got humility and he works his butt off and he doesn’t complain. He’s still got a lot of room to grow, got a lot to get better at, but he’s on the right trajectory for sure.”

Most Read

Copyright © 2011- 2023 White Maple Media