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‘The Future is Now’: Boynton Shares Excitement at Homecoming and Hoops

Boynton said he doesn’t want to wait another year to be a contender.

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STILLWATER — Mike Boynton doesn’t want to wait.

With murmurs of a super recruiting class in 2020, Boynton said he isn’t ready to wait an extra year for a good season. With his five returning starters and his Top 25 2019 recruiting class, Boynton announced Friday night at Homecoming and Hoops that the rebuild is over.

“It’s been a long time coming, but the time is now,” Boynton told the crowd. “I am so excited for this team, and I’m more excited for you guys that you’re gonna get to see a truly highly competitive basketball team throughout the year. We’ve got a really, really competitive schedule, a lot of really good games at home, and we need you guys there every single night.

“I just want to tell you guys one thing. There’s a lot of talk about the future of our program and where we’re headed. And I agree, we’re working really hard in recruiting. We’re gonna have a really good class. I feel good about that. But I’m here to tell you the future is now.”

It was a fun night in Gallagher-Iba Arena. The near-capacity crowd was introduced to the wrestling team and both basketball teams. Mike Gundy and Saturday’s homecoming captains came out and pumped up the crowd.

Gundy’s group included Chuba Hubbard, the nation’s leading rusher. Hubbard was greeted with many chants of “Chuba,” and fellow Canadian Amen Ogbongbemiga led a “Choo Choo” chant.

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The basketball player introductions were fun as they always are. Each player got announced with their own song, and many tried to dance. Trey Reeves came out to “The Office” theme song. He donned a tie and a jacked with Michael Scott’s “world’s best boss” mug.

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The dunk contest format probably needs some tweaks, but it was fun for its first year back.

6-foot-2 Avery Anderson won the dunk contest, but it came after Kalib Boone failed to convert his dunk in the championship round.

Anderson said he planned on jumping over Boynton for a dunk, but Boynton outlawed jumping over people. So in the first round, Anderson did a cartwheel into a back-hand spring before catching an alley-oop off the backboard.

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The most impressive attempt of the night didn’t even go in.

Marcus Watson caught an oop off the side of the backboard before going between the legs. He had a few attempts bounce off the back of the rim and was unable to get it to go. The pure athleticism shown caused an audible gasp to echo throughout Gallagher-Iba Arena. Watson said he wanted to shut the contest down in the first round.

“It’s like a dream come true,” Watson said. “All the fans in there, hearing how loud they are. What they say about Gallagher, it’s really true. It’s really loud. I couldn’t hear myself.”

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Markel Brown was back for his first homecoming since his senior season. He was a dunk contest judge and said he “definitely would’ve won” the dunk contest. Boynton said he hadn’t dunked since he was a year or two out of college, and thus he “would definitely lose.”

Boynton obviously wasn’t Brown’s coach, but Boynton said Brown has been around quite a bit because he is good friends with former teammate Keiton Page, who is the director of player development on Boynton’s staff.

“He’s very open,” Brown said of Boynton. “It’s amazing how open he is to everyone’s opinion, everyone’s advice. He’s a great person. I just chat with him a little bit about what he plans to do for the team. I always ask him who’s the new guys coming in and out. I can’t keep up with it, so he always keeps me up to date on things like that. I think we have a pretty solid relationship.”

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Every team probably feels good about its chances this season in the middle of October, but there was an undeniable renewed energy circulating GIA on Friday night.

“We built this program to take a step forward at this point,” Boynton told reporters after the event. “It’s time for us to move ourselves into a position where we can truly be considered contenders. I’m not comfortable accepting having to wait another year.

“The fans deserve it. The players who have been here deserve it, not the least of which are the captains (Cam McGriff, Lindy Waters and Thomas Dziagwa) and Trey Reeves, who have been here and been through a lot. The time is now for those guys to have a really good season on the court.”

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