Mike Boynton and the 2018-2019 Cowboys have a tall task ahead of them in replacing several valuable seniors from a year ago. Gone is Mitchell Solomon and his interior defense, experience, grit, and leadership. Gone is All Big-12 performer Jeffrey Carroll and his 15.4 points per game, complete with countless rim-rocking dunks and three balls that nearly took the roof off of GIA the last few years.
Gone is graduate transfer Kendall Smith, who handled the rock, came up huge in the biggest moments, and ran the offense efficiently once he settled into his new surroundings in conference play.
And we haven’t even mentioned Yankuba Sima’s interior depth and Tavarius Shine’s long but mostly effective career in Stillwater on both ends of the floor.
With these personnel losses comes great opportunity in year 2 of the Mike Boynton Era. #LetsWork has transformed into #C2E (Commitment2Excellence), and a whole crop of fresh new faces is ready to step into the spotlight. Enter freshman bigs Kentravious Jones, Yor Anei, and Maurice Calloo on the interior and wing Duncan Demuth to add size and versatility to the frontcourt.
In the backcourt, Indiana transfer and former top 100 recruit Curtis Jones will be eligible for conference play, grad transfer Mike Cunningham will help handle point guard duties, and 6’4 combo bull-like guard Isaac Likekele committed late in the spring to challenge for significant playing time. But there’s one player that the Cowboys need to step into the starting role and play the leading facilitator in the Cowboy offense, and that player is Michael Weathers.
The redshirt sophomore guard has been with the team since last fall, when he transferred (along with his former coach John Cooper) from Miami (Ohio) to Stillwater.
As a true freshman, the 6’2 point guard earned All-MAC honors with a dazzling all-around stat line. Hailing from Roeland Park, Kansas, Weathers led the Redhawks in scoring (16.7 points per game), assists (4.8 per game), steals (1.9 per game) and blocks (1.4 a game), and notched nine 20-point games in his first year.
This week, he expressed his eagerness to get back out on the court after his year-long absence.
— Hallie Hart (@halliehart) July 4, 2018
Weathers comes to campus with three years of eligibility left, and is apparently already showing out in practice with his work ethic and talent as the Pokes prepare for their European trip to Italy and Greece.
The @OSUMBB fans are going to love watching Michael Weathers. He can sky and is going 120 percent here in practice, which is fun. Remember, he was the Freshman of the Year in the MAC in 2016. Averaged 16.7 points per game.
— Alec McChesney (@Alec_McChesney) July 3, 2018
So what kind of player can Cowboys fans expect to see running the offense in the fall? Weathers is a scoring, playmaking athlete that looks primed to take on a lead role within Boynton’s offense. A quick first step and impressive ball-handling allows Weathers to blow by defenders on the perimeter and take it to the hole, comfortable finishing with either hand at the rim.
Additionally, Weathers will create plenty of open looks for his teammates on the perimeter by driving and dishing. As a freshman in 2016-2017, Weathers assisted just under 40 percent of his teammates’ field goals while he was on the floor, good for No. 6 in NCAA and just 4 percent behind former Cowboys star point guard Jawun Evans in 2016-2017. Weathers naturally created offense and got everyone involved at a high level, even as a freshman.
An area Weathers can improve on is his shooting. Weathers shot just 43 percent from the floor at Miami, including 22 percent on just 86 attempts all season from three. While he will likely create offense at the rim and get his teammates involved, a 10 percent jump into the 30-35 percent range from three-point land will make him all the more difficult to guard and will create optimal spacing for the offense.
“I want to take my game to another level,” said Weathers recently. “Watching last year, I think last year really helped my game slow down … the college game is a really fast-paced game. My game has grown a lot jump shot-wise. From shooting 22 percent my freshman year, I think I’ll be able to shoot at least 40 now.”
The last area Weathers should stand out immediately is on the defensive end. Weathers finished 3rd in the MAC in steals per game and led the conference as a 6’2 point guard with 1.4 blocks per game. His natural instincts and quickness allow him to disrupt opposing ballhandlers, contest and block shots often, and jump into passing lanes with regularity. Weathers and Lindy Waters will be a problem for Big 12 guards all spring on the defensive end of the floor.
While it’s only July, Mike Weathers looks like a candidate to become the next great Cowboy guard in Stillwater with his play-making, athleticism, high-level passing, and defensive prowess.
Graduate transfer Mike Cunningham will challenge for minutes as the primary ballhandler and point guard, but Weathers offers a higher ceiling as a starter and looks like the future at point guard for Oklahoma State. Mike Boynton and staff got themselves a good one with Weathers, and this season the rest of the Big 12 will take notice.