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Stat-Stuffer: Likekele First OSU Player with 1,000 Points, 600 Rebounds, 400 Assists

On Likekele’s legacy and comparing him statistically with other OSU greats.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

STILLWATER — Points, rebounds and assists — the most basic stats in basketball.

When Isaac Likekele scored his 1,000th career point on Monday, he became the first player in Oklahoma State’s history to have 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 400 assists in a career — or at least since they started tracking those stats in 1951. Likekele has stuffed the stat sheet like no one in OSU’s history.

Likekele is also one of only 14 players in OSU’s history with at least 150 steals, adding to his stat-stuffing ways. He is the 44th player in program history to score 1,000 points, one of 17 to have 600 rebounds and is fourth on OSU’s career assists list, one away from tying for third.

His size and versatility are what make him unique. At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds with long arms, Likekele can play point guard and power forward. Throughout OSU’s history there have been big men who have stuffed the stat sheet with points and rebounds and guards who have stuffed it with points and assists, but Likekele’s versatility sets him apart.

Finding A Comp

Byron Houston (1988-92) was more of a post version of Likekele. At a heftier 6-5, Houston is the program’s all-time leader in points (2,379) and rebounds (1,189). He was also great on the defensive end, having 222 career blocks and 159 career steals. He was a better scorer and rebounder than Likekele, but he finished his college career with 209 assists, less than half the amount Likekele has.

Ivan McFarlin (2001-05) is a similar story. Taller and heavier than Likekele, McFarlin had 1,526 points, 978 rebounds and 170 steals in his career, but he had only 164 assists.

Player Points Rebounds Assists Steals
Isaac Likekele 1,000 618 431 159
Bryron Houston (1988-92) 2,379 1,189 209 159
Ivan McFarlin (2001-05) 1,526 978 164 170

Then there are those at the other end of the spectrum like Byron Eaton (2005-09) and Matt Clark (1978-83). Those two had the points, assists and steals, but they didn’t have the rebounds.

Player Points Rebounds Assists Steals
Isaac Likekele 1,000 618 431 159
Byron Eaton (2005-09) 1,407 404 545 267
Matt Clark (1978-83) 1,542 444 432 155

“Matt really wasn’t a point guard,” said Barry Hinson, analyst and 1983 OSU grad. “Matt was kind of a scorer. If Matt Clark had a position in softball, he would be a rover. He could play a little bit of everything. But that’s kind of a good comparison body-wise, but still, Matt wasn’t that thick.”

The two closest comparisons from a stat-stuffing perspective are probably Chianti Roberts (1993-97) and Markel Brown (2010-14).

Roberts, listed at 6-6, had the 1,000 points and 150 steals. He was close to the 600 mark in rebounds, bringing down 563 as a Cowboy, and his 320 assists aren’t too far off the 400 standard.

“[Roberts is] a pretty good [comparison],” said Scott Sutton, OSU’s director of basketball administration and Roberts’ former teammate. “That’s a pretty good one. I think Ice played more true point guard than Chianti. Chianti had the ability to handle the ball. He was a freshman my last year, but I’m sure throughout his career he probably handled the point guard duty some. I thought Chianti was a little bit taller, probably a little more explosive, but that’s pretty good.”

Brown had an excess amount of points with 1,655, and his 580 rebounds and 136 steals are within 10% of the goals of 600 and 150. He had 308 assists, 92 away from the goal of 400.

Player Points Rebounds Assists Steals
Isaac Likekele 1,000 618 431 159
Chianti Roberts (1993-97) 1,129 563 320 151
Markel Brown (2010-14) 1,655 580 308 136

There are some obvious differences in the styles of Likekele and Brown. OSU fans probably think of 360 dunks when they think of Brown. Likekele plays his more methodical game that relies on his size and positioning. Keiton Page has seen them both up close. Page played with Brown and is on OSU’s staff as the team’s director of player development.

“They’re both elite competitors,” Page said. “I think that’s probably the most common between the two is they both came out there every night wanting to win really, really bad, put it all out there every time they stepped on the floor.”

Page’s comp for Likekele’s style of play was Fred Gulley. Gulley played three seasons in Stillwater before transferring to Arkansas. Gulley was listed at 6-2 and had 99 points, 115 rebounds, 59 assists and 38 steals in 48 games as a Cowboy. Page also played with James Anderson, who had 1,811 points, 513 rebounds, 163 assists and 112 steals in three seasons.

“I think the most common between those two was, and I played with James, he was absolutely unbelievable, but he had the ability to guard essentially a [point guard] through [power forward] and then sometimes we’d throw him on the [center],” Page said. “I think Ice has that versatility that if we need him to guard their point guard, then he’ll guard their point guard. If we need him to guard and bang with their [power forward], he can do that as well. So I think the most common between those two is just the versatility on defense between the two.”

Lastly, there are those who would’ve likely been with Likekele at this mountain top if they would’ve played four years of college basketball. Guys like Marcus Smart, Tony Allen and Cade Cunningham would’ve surely hit 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 400 assists had they had as much time on the floor as Likekele, but those are projections. Likekele’s numbers are real.

Player Points Rebounds Assists Steals
Isaac Likekele 1,000 618 431 159
Marcus Smart (2012-14) 1,064 375 287 188
Tony Allen (2002-04) 1,022 366 196 134
Brooks Thompson (1992-94) 996 250 339 169
Cade Cunningham (2020-21) 544 167 94 43
The Anatomy of a Stat-Stuffer

Hinson said Likekele has got to have the largest hands of any OSU point guard in history.

Attached to his already long arms, Likekele essentially has baseball gloves as hands. No matter the angle, he can nearly palm every pass that gets thrown to him.

A 6-5, 215-pound player in the 1980s might’ve been labeled a post guy or at the very least put on the wing. But even with that frame, Likekele has been given point guard duties throughout his career.

Hinson said Roberts was probably a good body comparison to Likekele to go along with the stat-stuffing. Hinson also mentioned Cornell Hatcher (1990-92). Also 6-5, Hatcher had 209 points, 167 rebounds, 161 assists and 133 steals in two seasons at Oklahoma State.

To go with his big frame, long arms and massive hands, Likekele also has another big advantage with his body, according to Hinson.

“In basketball, a great butt, or booty, is an intangible,” Hinson said. “Ice is really high on the intangible in that department. That’s probably the best way to say that. You’d never want another man talking about another man’s butt, but his big ole booty has come to be a major asset for him throughout his career.”

‘Not the Sexiest’

As basketball expands with the increased use of the 3-point shot, Likekele is a throwback guy who is at his best offensively when attacking the basket. Of his 1,000 points, only 54 have come from 3-point range.

A few of his high school mentors described Likekele’s style of play as an “old-man game.” He isn’t going to dazzle you with flashes of athleticism like a Markel Brown. He’s going to get you on his hip and go bank a hook shot off the glass.

In OSU’s Bedlam victory against Oklahoma on Feb. 5, Likekele played a team-high 30 minutes. He didn’t score but had a team-high seven rebounds and six assists. He was also a team-best +13 in plus/minus, meaning OSU was 13 points better than OU while Likekele was on the floor. Him not being a dynamic scorer frustrates a certain part of the OSU fanbase, but his coach says the Cowboys couldn’t do it without him.

“I’m as hard on these guys as anybody, but sometimes the things you hear about what people think about these kids is pretty mind-boggling,” Boynton said. “Like, we can’t win without that kid. This team can’t win without Ice. He’s our most experienced guy. He’s been in these battles over and over again. Sure, he doesn’t shoot it well, he’s not the sexiest player, he makes some bonehead decisions sometimes, but when we need to stop, he’s guarding whoever we think is going to get the ball. There’s tremendous value there. His teammates respect him. He’s been through it all here.”

Likekele’s Legacy

By no means does Likekele being the first player in program history to have 1,000 points, 600 rebounds and 400 assists put him in the conversation as the greatest player to play at Oklahoma State. But his sustained success ought to mean something.

As with the group of Cameron McGriff, Lindy Waters and Thomas Dziagwa, Likekele has been through a lot in his college career. He entered OSU as part of a five-man recruiting class — he is the only one of that group left. Two of his classmates were dismissed from the program and two transferred.

He has played on a team with seven scholarship players, and he has played on a team with the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. He has won an NCAA Tournament game, and he has been banned from the NCAA Tournament. He has played point guard, and he has played power forward. But through all of that time, he has played with the Cowboys.

“After I graduate, whatever is left around here in my name, I just want it to be something good,” Likekele said. “Whatever my legacy is, I want it to be stamped in a good light with great players and different things like that, how I affected the people around me, the community, what type of joy I brought to the campus, the team.”

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