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Michael Weathers Bounces Back in OSU Win Over Netherlands

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Michael Weathers had a rough start to his European tour with the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Against the Italian National Team “B” Squad on Tuesday, Weathers had 8 turnovers and was a minus-30 in just under 19 minutes of action. Some early struggles for Weathers were to be expected though as he hadn’t played in a game since Miami (OH) lost to Western Michigan during the Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament in early March 2017.

However, Weathers seems to be shaking the cobwebs off quickly as he had a much better performance yesterday against the Netherlands National Team reserves in the Cowboys 61-49 victory. There weren’t official stats kept for this one, but since Oklahoma State led the entire game, and Weathers played a good majority of the time, I’ll just go out on a limb and say his plus/minus was much better than the minus-30 from just days before.

Weathers showed flashes of why he was named MAC Freshman of the Year in 2017, and even though it’s just one game, it got me really excited for this upcoming season. So, what all did Weathers do well in this one? Let’s take a look.

1. Attacking the Basket

Even though official stats weren’t kept, per okstate.com, Weathers recorded 10 points, 5 rebounds and 1 assist. He hit a couple free throws and made an elbow jumper, but the majority of his points came at the rim. Weathers is so smooth with the basketball and he has such a quick first step that he’s really difficult to stay in front of. He got to the basket at will against the Netherlands and finished pretty impressively around the rim at times.

He didn’t score on this one but the speed he shows to get by his defender and into the paint is incredible.

In addition, Weathers showed the ability to go up strong and didn’t shy away from contact once he entered the painted area.

2. Handles and Court Vision

Cowboy Head Coach Mike Boynton had stated in the past that he would like for Weathers to play off the ball, and we got a taste of that early in this game with both Weathers and Mike Cunningham in the starting lineup. It was a different story though in the second half, as Weathers brought the ball up on must occasions and when the offense needed a reset in the half court, the ball was placed in his hands.

In the first game against Italy, Weathers was careless with the basketball at times and looked like he was playing with the Turbo button held down the entire game.  But, in yesterday’s contest, he seemed much more controlled and handled the basketball very well both in transition and in the half court. As I mentioned above, there were no official stats kept, but in the second half when Weathers was the primary ball handler, I only counted one turnover for the speedy guard.

His crossover is nasty and he can get by not only the Netherlands’ reserves, but most Big 12 defenders with it.

He has the tendency to gamble with some of his passes, and this showed in the game earlier this week contributing to his 8 turnovers, but with the way he sees the floor you can’t blame him. As he gets more comfortable with his Cowboy teammates, I think you will see much more of these on target than not. Additionally, the way he’s able to collapse the defense into the lane is going to open up so many shots for Lindy Waters, Thomas Dziagwa and company.

Also, I want to say he had about three or four hockey assists similar to the play below.  Again… HANDLES!!!!

Here’s another hockey assist for the young guard.  You love to see this kind of ball movement, especially with the struggles Oklahoma State had last season against zone defense.  Ball movement opens up space against the zone, and it looks like Weathers is going to be a huge asset in that regard.

3. Defense

One big problem for the Cowboys in their first game of the European tour was help defense… actually, let’s just go with defense in general.  Well, the whole team, including Weathers, really stepped it up in this one.  Weathers showed active hands and was in his man’s face the entire game.  He played defense with a great deal of energy and looked like he was fully engaged on that side of the court.  He had several deflections like the one in the clip below.

And, he forced this turnover on the wing knocking the ball from the Netherlands player’s hands.

With all of that said, Weathers still has some things to improve upon as he continues shaking off the rust.  He still made a few errant passes that led to turnovers or stopped a fast break, and he got buried in a few screens, but overall he played great.

Also, when it comes to plays like the video above, you’d like to see Weathers fight harder through the screen, but this could also be a communication issue from not having played as a team very much.  The communication will get corrected over time as the team builds chemistry, so I wouldn’t worry too much about this particular situation. In addition, that screen looked a tad bit illegal… Zaza Pachulia would be proud.

Something else I noticed, Weathers looks to be comfortable running the dribble hand-off,

which is definitely a staple of Coach Boynton’s offense.

Weathers didn’t show his outside shot off in this one.  He didn’t shoot a great percentage from three in his freshman season, but he also didn’t take a lot of them at 86 total attempts.  This would have ranked him 6th (ahead of Cam McGriff) on last year’s Cowboy team.  Also, he has a nice stroke from the free throw line and his 78 percent mark from there makes me optimistic that he can continue progressing as a shooter.

If you got off the Michael Weathers hype train after the game on Tuesday, you need to buy another ticket and hop back on because this kid can play and I think he has what it takes to be a star in Stillwater.  And, I’m not talking about a future star, I’m talking about this upcoming season.

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