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Patience, Competitiveness Part of Jamyron Keller’s Ascendance

‘At any given moment, you need to be ready for your time or for your name to be called.’



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — When Mike Boynton offered Jamyron Keller in the summer of 2022, Boynton told Keller that after a year or a year and a half, the Cowboys would need a point guard.

A lot of recruits might not want to hear that. A lot might want a guarantee of minutes, but not too long after that offer, Keller committed to the Cowboys.

That’s a risk when trying to bring in a recruit, especially in the modern era where options for players are seemingly endless. Boynton said Thursday that it’s important he is honest in the recruiting process with guys. He said he told Cade Cunningham that he wasn’t for sure the future No. 1 NBA Draft pick would start. Boynton said he thought Cunningham would, but he wasn’t going to guarantee it unless Cunningham worked.

That ability to want to compete is something Boynton is after — whether it comes from the No. 1 player in a class like Cunningham or the No. 146 player in a class like Keller.

Keller said his ability to believe in the process spans from his time moving from South Carolina to Texas as a child. He said initially in Texas, he was rarely a go-to guy on a team. He had to wait for his opportunities.

“Having those experiences early, coming off the bench or not playing at all even, I think that taught me a little bit of patience,” Keller said. “‘OK, your time can come. At any given moment, you need to be ready for your time or for your name to be called.’ That was one of those situations.”

Keller’s name was called Saturday. In his first start at the college level, Keller was perfect from the field, scoring a career-high 22 points on 8-for-8 shooting. He also brought a toughness to the Cowboys’ defense and helped lead OSU to a big win against BYU.

Then Wednesday night Keller made his second start. He scored 15 points and helped the Cowboys to their first road win of the season and the first set of back-to-back wins OSU has recorded since Dec. 31 and Jan. 3.

Keller had a solid offer list coming out of Killeen High School, but there is no doubt a lot of programs missed on the tenacious, big-bodied guard. He had his OSU offer and others from Kansas State and SMU, but those three were by far the highest-profile programs to take a chance on Keller.

Even Boynton’s projections in recruiting, Keller is ahead of schedule. Averaging 18.5 points a game as a starter and shooting 39% from 3 as a freshman, it’s a wonder why all the major programs in Texas weren’t knocking his door down.

But aside from the production Keller has brought the Cowboys the past few games, it also seems like Keller is the perfect type of competitor Boynton wants as part of his program.

“As you watch him more, the more that you see there’s just a competitiveness that I value,” Boynton said. “So much of recruiting is about what works for the head coach and their philosophy. Talent’s gotta be good enough, but there was a competitive element that I valued that I thought he could bring to us. …

“The last thing I ever want is to have anybody come here because they’ve been coerced into something that’s not real and they get here and it’s a miserable experience because Coach Mike lied to me and said I was going to be able to play 35 minutes a game and I was gonna be able to shoot all the balls. Or we got all these beautiful Morton Steakhouses around town that you guys will be able to go eat. Like, no. This is Stillwater, Oklahoma. This is a blue-collar program. This is what we’re about. You earn everything you get, and I’m going to try to help lead you in the work that it takes to be good. He was bought into that, and most of the guys that we recruit here are bought into that. That’s why over time they learn to love it here because it’s real.”

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