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The Rundown: Boynton on Likekele’s Health, Houston and Transfers

Mike Boynton gives an update on his ill point guard.

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STILLWATER — The Cowboys have to sit on their big loss to Wichita State for a week.

The Oklahoma State basketball team travels to Houston (before OSU’s football team) to take on the Houston Cougars on Sunday. Mike Boynton met with reporters before the Cowboys practiced Friday afternoon. Here is a breakdown of what he said.

• On Houston: “They’re really good. They’re particularly good as it relates to rebounding, which is a concern. They’re second in the country in offensive rebounding percentage. Obviously that’s important because we’ve had some struggles on the glass.”

• On Isaac Likekele: “He’s better, making progress. He probably still isn’t available yet. I hate to get ahead of myself, but I want to be honest. I don’t anticipate him playing. He is doing better. He hasn’t practiced, but he’s been around the last couple days, which is progress from the four or five days prior to that where he was kinda sequestered for a while. So we’ll see. As he continues to make progress, we’ll give him a chance to get back into shape get back to practice.”

“I don’t think it’s long term, but I don’t want to give a date at this point. I don’t think that’s fair to the kid or to the people who know medicine better than I do.”

• It’s a hard time for the team, but this is good experience for Chris Harris and Avery Anderson. Boynton compared the situation with how Likekele and Yor Anei had to get thrown into the fire last season.

• On Anei: “Yor has probably been effected by Ice more than anybody in some ways. He’s the only point guard he’s ever played with. Not that he hasn’t played with these other guys, there’s just a comfort.

“What he’s gotta do is he’s gotta help himself by not getting himself in foul trouble because that has nothing to do with Ice.”

• Practices haven’t dipped despite the two losses. Boynton said the team’s practice Thursday was probably the best the team has had since games have started.

• On showing Anderson Jawun Evans’ film: “They’re different. Avery is a way better athlete. Now don’t get me wrong, he’s not as good a player, yet. He can become that. That cake needs to be baked a little bit longer. The frames are totally different. They’re very different, but the position itself, understanding being able to execute, being able to understand time and score, how do I take what Coach is asking me to do and try to figure out what he’s actually asking for.

“I’ll call a pick-and-roll play for instance. It’s not necessarily for him to score every time, when you’re trying to take advantage of a big switching, or a big guy popping or something like that. Just his evolution. It’s really good he’s starting to do that (watching Evans) more consistently because I think that that will expedite his learning process.”

• On Quentin Grimes, who transferred to Houston from Kansas: “He’s always been really good. I recruited Quentin when I was an assistant here briefly. Tremendous talent, can really score. Sometimes it’s about finding a better fit, and I think he’s found a really good fit, a coach that’s maybe allowing him to be a little bit more featured. Obviously at Kansas, he was surrounded by other really talented guys, but I’ve always thought that he can be a high-level producer because he scores effortlessly most of the time.”

• On transfer waivers seemingly being given more liberally this season after he had Michael Weathers and Curtis Jones have to sit out a season: “I wish it was more consistent, either way. We’re gonna play by whatever rules they put in front of us. It is frustrating at times. You try to figure out, ‘Well how does that work?’ and, ‘This case seems like it has a lot of merit.’ It’s not always black and white. I hope we can get to a place where it’s more black and white that gray, but that’s just not where we are right now. What we gotta do is we gotta be more proactive, and if we feel like there’s a case on the front end, be really aggressive as soon as possible.”

• On the differences in recruiting the transfer portal and recruiting a high school player: “There’s probably challenges there that you don’t anticipate. You don’t have as much time to get to know the kids in the portal. So the alignment in terms of what the expectations are, what the kid may be looking for can kinda get glossed over some times just in the erg of signing a really good player or someone who has a big name or has put up big numbers somewhere. It doesn’t always work.

“I’m always in favor of having more time to develop a relationship, to have honest conversations about what we expect, about what they expect to see if it’s a match. … It’s working. I don’t think it’s going away, that’s for sure. But you do have to be a little bit more meticulous on just how aggressive you are because if you move too fast, you can wind up getting something you don’t expect.”

• On rebounding: “I think it’s even more that our guards have to help. Lindy (Waters) has to be a better, more consistent rebounder. Keylan (Boone) has to be a more consistent rebounder. He does pretty good offensively because he wants to score, but on defense, not as much. Then our young big kids, Hidde (Roessink) and Kalib (Boone) have to grow and understand the physicality. We just got pushed around quite a bit on Sunday when we watching the film.

“That’s one of those things, right? You ask, ‘How do you prepare these guys?’ We talk about how aggressive because we watch it on film as coaches, but sometimes it’s not until you get out there and you’re like, ‘Well I knew Coach wasn’t lying, but this seems more significant that even what he said.'”

• On if he can simulate physicality: “To a certain degree, yeah. Not as much as you could do maybe when I played or even prior to that. People keep suggesting that I pull out helmets and pads and stuff, and I can’t imagine standing here if someone had a concussion because they got hit in the head with a football pad during basketball practice. I couldn’t imagine the questions I would get. So, we’re not gonna do that, probably can’t do that any more.

“They don’t want football players playing football any more, right? So they definitely don’t want to see me out there trying to practice football.”

• Trey Reeves is the best teammate Boynton has ever seen.

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