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The Rundown: Boynton on Brooklyn, Syracuse, NOA’s Effect on 2020 Signees

Boynton breaks down Syracuse’s stingy zone.



STILLWATER — The Cowboys had an early practice in the auxiliary gym in Gallagher-Iba Arena on Monday morning before they hop on a plane and head to The Big Apple.

Oklahoma State plays in the NIT Season Tip-Off in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn this week, starting with a Wednesday night matchup with Syracuse. After Monday morning’s practice, OSU coach Mike Boynton met with reporters and discussed the upcoming trip. Here is a breakdown of what he said:

• On going to Brooklyn, his hometown: “New York City is a special, special place. Obviously, born and raised there, spent all my formative years there playing in all the places you could think of. It’s a great opportunity for our team, though, to go out there and play great competition. It’s a great time of year to be up there. There’s a lot going on, but we’re obviously focused on taking care of business first and foremost.”

• On showing the team around New York City: “They don’t want to go where I grew up, I’ll be honest. But we’ll let them go into the city and walk around and have their eyes raised. I think we’ll have some time to do that, and then we’ll get right back to business.”

• A lot of the players’ parents are going to Brooklyn. The team will have a meal on Thursday for Thanksgiving.

• On how the coaching staff prepares the freshmen for this trip: “A lot of it you can’t, to be honest. They just have to learn on the fly, so to speak. I’m always interested to see how they respond. There are some guys you see rise and are ready for those type of moments. It will be a well-attended game, considering I think this is the only time that Syracuse is playing in New York City this year. Obviously having been in the Big East for so long, there’s a lot of Syracuse fans in New York City and obviously in Brooklyn as well. I’m excited to see how our players will respond to what essentially will be a road game outside of some parents going up and me having a little bit of family there. Most of the orange won’t be cheering for the Cowboys.”

• Boynton said he was surprised by how many of his players have been to New York City. He said it was more than a majority. Dutchman Hidde Roessink has even been.

• On Syracuse’s zone: “After 50 years you would think you kinda know all the things you could see attacking you. Coach (Jim) Boeheim’s been the only one calling the shots over there for a long time. There’s not going to be anything we can do from a schematic standpoint that he hasn’t seen at some point. Just being able to not only understand that their length is going to bother you, but they’re gonna adjust to how we attack them. Then it just kinda becomes a boxing match, who can make the best adjustments throughout the game.

“Then ultimately we’ll have to make some shots over it. There’s no question about it. We’re not going to kid ourselves and think we can shoot the ball as poorly as we have, certainly from 3 the last two games, and still expect to have success. But if we don’t, we’re certainly going to still try to find a way. We gotta be really good on the glass rebounding. We’ve gotta keep them out of transition. The key, I think, to beating a zone is trying to beat it before it gets set up. If we get stops and we can get out and run on transition, which is where we’re our best anyway, we think that will bode well for us to have the best chance to have success.”

• On if Boeheim recruited him in high school: “Nah, I wasn’t that good enough for Boeheim. I admire their program. They’re really good. I’ve gotten to know Coach just a little bit the last couple years just from being a head coach and kinda roaming a little bit of a different circle now. Unbelievably sharp still for a guy who’s been around as long as he has. I admire the guy. I’m not going to win 1,000 games. I can assure you of that. I’m not gonna be around that long. It’ll be an honor to be on the same court with him.”

• On how much the freshmen have had to learn about facing a zone the past few days: “A lot. It’s pretty much been all zone in practice the last couple days. Have another opportunity tomorrow, but we can’t simulate the length that they have throughout. We’re trying to give Avery (Anderson) an idea. He’s going to go in there and literally disappear. You guys are not going to see him on the TV screen when he gets into the paint. Just figuring that part out will be something that he can’t do until Wednesday night.”

• Boynton said he doesn’t have much family time set aside. His wife and children are flying up with the team. “I think my wife has got some stuff planned with the kids, and she knows that I’m probably not available for, which she’s used to that by now. It’s business for us.”

• Roessink should be available for Wednesday’s game after a knee strain has kept him out the past three.

• Kalib Boone is better after missing Friday’s game with an illness. He was limited in practice Sunday but was “full go” Monday morning.

• On the Notice of Allegation: “It’s relief in the sense that now I can openly speak about what I’ve thought the process would be like two years ago. At the time not knowing where it would go an all the options available in terms of how many people were involved? And what’s the punishment gonna look like? And how deep does this go into the program? All that speculation is over. We know exactly what it is. I told the media the other day, it took me four minutes and 15 seconds to carefully read the document. It went over the same information over and over and over again, if you’ve read it you know that. I feel good that, obviously, it wasn’t a wide spread issue. It was pretty confined and contained, and we dealt with it at the moment. Now we look forward to getting to the end of the process, which we hope now we’re as close to that as possible.”

• On conversations about the NOA with OSU’s 2020 signees: “This wasn’t news to them. My job is to be transparent in the process and talk to them about whatever may be going on in our program. And obviously letting them have the confidence in us that we’re gonna do things the right way here.

“We’ve had those conversations. We feel good about their understanding of it and knowing that we’ll move forward and be in a good place afterwards.”

• Yor Anei was on his visit to OSU the weekend before the news came out. “He was kinda like, ‘Woah, what’s going on here?’ We felt pretty good about his visit, so we took a couple days to just kinda get our minds wrapped around what do we do. He was the first person I saw after the news broke. I drove up to Kansas City and visited with him and his family and kinda explained what I knew at the time, which wasn’t much. But I hoped that he would have confidence that we were going to do the right things. Obviously the rest has been history for him.”

• On the notice: “I’m always aware of it, partly because in recruiting, it’s something that people can use against you. ‘The sky is falling.’ ‘Don’t go there, the program’s gonna be disbanded in six months.’ Or ‘That coach isn’t going to be there.’ It’s pretty aggressive now. Now having the information as we thought it was out there helps us be able to say, ‘Hey, what we told you from the beginning, in fact, is true. They found the same things, and we think we’re gonna be OK in the end.'”


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