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Mike Boynton’s Depth Chart Will Be a Work in Progress

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We got our first look at Mike Boynton with a clipboard in his hand last Friday night when the Cowboys bested Arkansas Monticello 85-65 inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.

What is there really to learn about a 20-point win that doesn’t count over a Division II school? Not a ton. But we may be able to glean a little bit about how OSU’s rotations and minutes might shape out this season.

First off let’s take a look at the how the minutes were distributed on Friday.

Player Minutes Position
Kendall Smith* 23 PG
Cam McGriff* 26 F
Lindy Waters III* 24 G
Jeffrey Carroll* 24 G/F
Mitchell Solomon* 22 F/C
Brandon Averette 22 PG
Zack Dawson 12 G
Tavarius Shine 27 G
Lucas N’Guessan 18 F/C
Trey Reeves 2 F

*Starters

Three Cowboys did not take part and all three figure to vie for a rotation spot. Davon Dillard is still rehabbing from offseason foot surgery and is expected to return as early as December. Last year’s sixth man has the talent and explosiveness to earn a starting spot.

Sophomore wing Thomas Dziagwa suffered a knee contusion in practice and was held out. Junior big man Yankuba Sima will not be eligible until December due to NCAA transfer rules.

Let’s look at each position group and Boynton might plug guys in and out as he whittles down his rotations. OSU does have pretty good size and length, maybe it’s one upgrade over last year, which will allow for several guys to play multiple positions.

Point Guard

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Cal State-Northridge transfer Kendall Smith was a willing distributor on Friday night, dishing out a game-high seven assists but was just 1-for-8 from the field for 5 points. It appears him getting the nod over sophomore Brandon Averette will be something Boynton sticks with moving forward.

“It was a first game,” said Boynton of Smith “I didn’t think he was at his best. He showed some flashes of things he’s potentially capable of doing for us. Right now he’s got to learn how to take more leadership out there on the floor and be more of a vocal leader out there.

“In terms of trying to get guys in position to score, he did a really good job of that. Then he tried to pick his spots where he could score himself.”

Wings

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Jeffrey Carroll will start and should be the Cowboys’ focal point on offense. Expect Lindy Waters to stay in the starting lineup, at least until Davon Dillard is back and 100 percent, maybe after. Waters does a lot of things well and is just scratching the surface with his scoring potential.

Tavarius Shined in his first action since missing most of last season with injury, 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting (5-of-8 from 3) and seven rebounds and a pair of assists. The junior wing came off the bench but led all Cowboys in minutes Friday night.

“I purposefully wanted to play him a lot,” said Boynton. “Just to get him over the fear of getting hurt again or worried about whether he’s really ready. I wanted him to play a lot tonight and we accomplished that.

“By doing that he was able to have a lot of opportunities because his teammates are playing pretty unselfishly. He got some pretty good looks and knocked them down.”

Touted true freshman Zack Dawson saw 12 minutes and went 0-for-4 from the field, but growing pains are expected when making the leap to the next level.

Front Court

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Mitchell Solomon looks to retain his role at either center and/or power forward. Lucas N’Guessan will provide depth until St. John’s transfer Yankuba Sima is eligible. Cam McGriff can be an impact player at several positions based on his athleticism.

So with the limited information we have about certain new faces and Mike Boynton’s offense and coaching styles, here’s my best guess for the depth chart for the season opener.

Position 1 2 3
PG Kendall Smith Brandon Averette
SG Jeffrey Carroll Zack Dawson Thomas Dziagwa
SF Lindy Waters Tavarius Shine Trey Reeves
PF Cam McGriff Mitchell Solomon
C Mitchell Solomon Lucas N’Guessan

Of course, all of these spots are fluid and Boynton may lean on other guys to see what he will get like he did Shine. This whole basketball season is going to come with its own learning curve for all of us, especially the head coach.

The first tipoff that matters will be this Friday November 10 at 7:30 p.m. when Oklahoma State welcomes Pepperdine for the season opener at Gallagher-Iba Arena.

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