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Lutz’s Roster, Assistant Coaches Still To Be Determined

‘I want every one of them to stay, and if they want to stay, we’d love to to have them.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — As Steve Lutz took to the podium for the first time as the Cowboys’ basketball coach, a handful of players sat front and center.

Bryce Thompson, Jamyron Keller, Justin McBride and Connor Dow are all eligible to return next season and all attended Lutz’s introductory news conference Thursday in Gallagher-Iba Arena. Javon Small was the only player who isn’t in the portal who was not there, and neither were portal entries Brandon Garrison, Eric Dailey Jr. or Quion Williams. That doesn’t mean one thing or the other as to who is coming back and who is moving on — just an observation from Lutz’s introduction to the OSU faithful.

“These guys don’t know me, and they’re going to get to know me over the next couple weeks,” Lutz said. “As I told them, I come into this with no preconceived notions. I want every one of them to stay, and if they want to stay, we’d love to to have them. And if they don’t, no problem — go find you a new place and we’ll wish you well. Once they decide to stay, then it becomes our responsibility to figure out a way to retain them. It’s the transfer portal age, I get it. It’s totally different then when I started in 1995. But that’s where we’re at today, so we as a group have to invest in this university and this basketball team to find a way to retain them.”

Lutz said he has had talks with all the players who were in attendance and a few who weren’t. He said he is open to recruiting players back out of the portal but said he knows his program won’t be for everyone.

The hardest-hitting question Lutz was asked Thursday came from a former player — John-Michael Wright.

Wright, who is out of eligibility, asked whether Lutz would be truthful to guys who were open to returning but perhaps didn’t fit stylistically with how Lutz wanted to play. Wright asked whether Lutz would tell them that or if he would just let the season come and see them ride the bench.

“Justin (McBride) and I talked, actually, this morning,” Lutz responded. “Am I honest? Yeah, I’m almost honest to a fault, guys. If there is ever a fault for being too honest. And I’m not knocking on Justin because I love him. He asked good questions. But to answer your question, yes. As I said a minutes ago, this is not always a fit for everybody, right? I have a certain vision for the way we want to play. As a player, you have a vision for the way you want to play. And if those visions don’t align, then it’s never gonna work out.

“I always tell them when you walk in the door, and I told them all I have no preconceived notions of what they can and can’t do. However the previous coaching staff played, that’s different then maybe the way I’m gonna play and we value different things. So, someone could be maybe a reserve on another team and they could come to our team and they could be a star. But, the flip of that could happen as well. They’re very honest and open conversations.”

As things stand, Lutz has seven scholarships to work with heading into next season — a number that could increase or decrease over the coming days depending on what players from last season’s team decide. Luckily for Lutz, the portal also giveth. In modern college athletics, a roster can be flipped fairly quickly, but he said he isn’t going to rush to fill a roster. He said it’s about patience in finding the right pieces.

“I’ve never believed in shotgun recruiting — and what I mean by that is just shooting a big, open shot and see what happens,” Lutz said. “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.”

Along with figuring out a roster, Lutz also needs a staff.

Boynton’s assistants from last season were Terrence Rencher, David Cason, Keiton Page, Scott Sutton and James Barrett. Lutz said he’ll meet with some of those guys but that he also has others in mind that he has previously worked with or knows.

“Well, I’ve gotta make some decisions here,” Lutz said. “I’ll meet with some of the guys that were on Coach Boynton’s staff. I know some of them from my years of coaching — then just kinda make the best decision for us moving forward. Obviously I’ve done this for a long time and have a lot of people that have worked with me and even worked for me. Just like players, you’ve gotta have guys that are of high character, high moral standard and then are gonna work extremely, extremely hard to help Oklahoma State get to where we wanna go.”

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