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‘Keep Turning Over the Rocks’: Looking at the Portal Landscape as Lutz Looks to Solidify His First OSU Roster

A look at those leaving, staying and targeted.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Three weeks into Steve Lutz’s hiring, the Cowboys have just four players on the roster.

Bryce Thompson, Jamyron Keller and Connor Dow are the only players from last season’s Oklahoma State squad who haven’t entered the portal or exhausted their eligibility. That trio is joined by Class of 2024 signee Jeremiah Johnson, who PFB has learned is sticking with his commitment to the Pokes even after the staff change.

So, that leaves nine scholarships, as of writing, that Lutz and his staff have to fill.

That seems … daunting. But in a media scrum after his introductory news conference, Lutz expressed the importance of finding the right pieces over making quick decisions.

“You’re still looking for guys that have a high level of talent and a high level of character,” Lutz said. “Maybe you don’t find those in Day 1 or Day 2. It might be Week 3 or Week 4. It might be Week 8 or Week 9, but you’ve gotta keep turning over the rocks and you’ve gotta keep doing your job until you find those people.

“I’ve never believed in shotgun recruiting — and what I mean by that is just shooting a big, open shot and see what happens. My staff and I, we’ll put an enormous amount of time in investigating and making sure we fill this program with the right people.”

With that being said, let’s get a refresher on the landscape as the new week gets going.

Pokes in the Portal

Brandon Garrison, Eric Dailey Jr., Javon Small, Quion Williams and Justin McBride have all hopped into the transfer portal since Mike Boynton’s exit.

Of that group, only Dailey has found a new landing spot, as of writing, committing to UCLA last week.

Garrison and Small have been on some high-profile visits recently, as Garrison has posted photos to his Instagram of trips to Oklahoma and Texas. Garrison is perhaps the name OSU fans hope to cling onto most. His rim-running abilities would likely fit well with Lutz’s up-tempo tendencies, but Garrison’s visits show it’s not going to be easy for OSU to keep ahold of him.

Small has visited Miami, and there have been links reported between Small and Kentucky under former BYU coach Mark Pope. Pope will have been familiar with Small, having seen him twice this past season — including Small’s career-high 34-point game in Provo.

Williams had an in-home visit with Abilene Christian. Williams shined in spurts for the Cowboys as a sophomore this past season but struggled with turnovers during other stretches. As he gains experience and reigns in a little, I actually think Lutz’s up-tempo style would benefit Williams as a long, tough-defending jack of all trades.

McBride’s late entry to the portal speculatively means that he didn’t feel he was a fit with the new system. Lutz eluded to talks with McBride during Lutz’s introductory news conference before McBride was in the portal.

Portal Targets

The Cowboys were set to host a pair of transfer prospects on visits this past week: Arkansas’ Davonte “Devo” Davis and Wyoming’s Brendan Wenzel.

Starting with Davis, he was once committed to Oklahoma State as a high schooler. He was in the same class as Cade Cunningham and decommitted as Cunningham’s decision came near. According to Jon Rothstein, Davis was also scheduled to visit Grand Canyon and FAU.

Across his four years with the Razorbacks, Davis played in 132 games and started 85 of those. He averaged 8.5 points a game during his Arkansas career and had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.42.

This past season was an odd one for Davis, but it was an odd one for Arkansas as a whole. The Razorbacks made back-to-back Elite Eights in Davis’ freshman and sophomore seasons before making the Sweet 16 in Davis’ junior year. Arkansas missed the tournament entirely this past season, finishing just 16-17, ultimately leading to the coaching shuffle that saw Eric Musselman leave for USC and John Calipari shockingly leave Kentucky for Arkansas. Davis averaged a career-low 5.9 points a game this past season, but he was a proven contributor on some solid teams before that.

The 6-foot-7 Wenzel is reportedly on a Big 12 tour, as he was set to visit OSU and TCU this past week ahead of a visit to Texas Tech on Friday. He averaged 11.6 points a game for the other Cowboys last season while shooting 38% from 3 — his career average.

Former Oklahoma preps standout Kevin Overton put OSU in his top group but has since committed to Texas Tech.

Other players OSU has reportedly made contact with who haven’t committed elsewhere or cut OSU from consideration include Jaquan Carlos (Hofstra), Jamarii Thomas (Norfolk State) and Myles Foster (Illinois State).

Probably Best to Keep an Eye on the Hilltoppers

Two players have hit the portal from Western Kentucky since Lutz’s move to Oklahoma State: Brandon Newman and Dontaie Allen.

A four-star recruit in the 2019 class, Newman started his college career at Purdue, when Lutz was an assistant, before spending this past season with Lutz at WKU. He averaged 10.1 points per game while shooting 41% from the field and 33% from 3 with the Hilltoppers. WKU listed him at 6-foot-5, 195 pounds last season.

Allen was also a four-star recruit in that 2019 class, starting his college career out at Kentucky. After three seasons in Lexington (one of which was a medical redshirt), he spent the past two seasons with the Hilltoppers, averaging 8.7 points in 59 games whilst shooting 39% from 3. He was listed at 6-6, 210 this past season.

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