Oklahoma State held yet another pre-European trip practice on Tuesday, and Marshall Scott covered the festivities for us. Hope you guys enjoy!
By Marshall Scott
Newcomers Face First Live Scrimmage
The Oklahoma State newcomers got their first live taste of Big 12 basketball Tuesday, and it was tough.
Toward the end of the Cowboys’ fourth practice before their European trip, OSU coach Mike Boynton split his squad into two teams. Dressed in orange were juniors Cameron McGriff, Lindy Waters, Thomas Dziagwa and Curtis Jones with redshirt sophomore Michael Weathers, and in black were freshmen Isaac Likekele, Duncan Demuth, Maurice Calloo and Kentrevious Jones with graduate transfer Mike Cunningham.
Boynton said it went about as he expected.
“I put all the young guys together purposefully because I wanted them to have to figure it out, or not figure it out, and now we can go teach film,” Boynton said. “I noticed that it got hard, and they were all looking around at each other and all of them had the same questions, essentially, ‘What do we do?’ and none of them had answers.
“The veteran guys did what I expected them to do which was use their experience, be able to take away some things that they knew were coming and stuff like that.”
The drill set up a late-game scenario where the group of newcomers started with the lead and the ball — neither of which they kept long.
During the four-minute session, the black team got up one shot and spent most of its time picking the ball out of their basket and turning the ball over before they got to half court.
“You kind of know that you’re gonna have some ups and downs throughout the process of scrimmaging like that, but I didn’t think it would go like that,” Cunningham said. “The last minute, they kind of turned up on us, but we’re trying to get the plays down. I feel like we’ll be better next time we see them. We’ll see them again.”
Waters doesn’t seem worried about where the younger group is right now, given he has been through it.
“I’ve asked multiple staff members that were here whenever I was a freshman, ‘Did I look like them my freshman year?” Waters said. “Me, in my mind, I’m thinking, ‘No,’ and they reply, ‘Yes.’ It just shows how far we’ve come along. It’s a positive thing for them because next year, down the line, they’ll be right in my shoes.”
Likekele Emerging as Young Leader
Despite his team getting dismantled in the scrimmage, Isaac Likekele’s leadership qualities are beginning to show.
In a timeout during the scrimmage, Likekele explained to his team that the group wasn’t running the plays it practiced just a drill before.
Earlier in the practice Likekele talked his group filled with newcomers through an offense, telling players where they needed to be.
“It’s hard a lot of times for young guys to want that (leadership) because they don’t understand that it’s important, but he’s a winner,” Boynton said. “He won a state championship in high school. We try to identify guys that won in high school because they have an understanding of what it takes.
“Leadership doesn’t have an age; I guess I’m probably an example of that. I try to tell our guys that, ‘Just because you’re a freshman doesn’t mean you can’t speak.’ You need to know what you’re talking about, and you have to do before you can tell, but he’s a guy, certainly at some point, I expect to be a big-time leader for us.”
Major Enters as Walk-On
Well, there are now more newcomers than returners.
Luke Major practiced Tuesday, making it seven to six for the newbies. Major is the second walk-on for OSU, the other being Trey Reeves.
“Luke is a kid who has expressed some interest in being around here for quite some time,” Boynton said. “We weren’t sure earlier in the spring what we were going to do with a potential walk-on. He stayed pretty diligent about wanting to come. I think he’s got great pride. His parents went to school here and are big fans of the program. He’s certainly somebody that we hope can continue to help us.”
Major spent his high school career with OKC Storm, a homeschool team that practices in Edmond.