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The Rundown: Boynton Talks Newcomers, Expectations at Media Day Presser

Breaking down what Mike Boynton said at media day.

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STILLWATER — Big 12 football will soon be in Stillwater, but the Cowboys basketball team is just getting started.

The Oklahoma State men’s basketball team has its first practice of the new season Wednesday, but before that, the squad held its media day Tuesday. Here is a breakdown of what OSU coach Mike Boynton said about the upcoming year.

• He starts with a joke that Cam McGriff isn’t a great recruiter given the team he picked in the media basketball team that lost by 24 (I was on that team; it wasn’t pretty).

• The team’s first practice is Wednesday, and Boynton said he is excited.

• “One of the things that I’ve been most impressed with is the balance of the upperclassmen trying to teach and help the young guys learn, but also the competitiveness that we’ve had in those situations where they had to compete against each other but help each other through it.”

• New assistants Erik Pastrana and Cannen Cunningham are both young guys with a lot of energy, but they also have a lot of experience around the game at the same time.

• The transition with Pastrana in particular has been easy because of the time Boynton and Pastrana coached together at Stephen F. Austin.

• “Cannen on the other hand, I didn’t know in terms of having a working relationship with, but I had observed him in a coaching capacity with his teams before. I know he’s really, really smart. He’s a guy who understands the game. He’s been around some tremendous coaches himself.”

• Avery Anderson is up “somewhere close to 20 pounds.” The Boone twins have “added some good muscle.” Chris Harris is down “15 to 20 pounds.”

• Cam McGriff did 23 185-pound bench press reps the other day. “Even though he can’t recruit, he’s really, really good in the weight room.”

• McGriff and Thomas Dziagwa stayed in Stillwater the entire summer as opposed to going home in their break.

• Boynton tried to get a lot of new players out of their comfort zones. He said he’ll identify their weaknesses and try to expose them to make them aware of where they need to improve.

• The Boone twins have come “a long way.”

• “Kalib Boone I think was on the precipice of trying to walk back to Tulsa on Day 3 of summer school because he was hurting in every possible way, physically but also mentally. He was being asked to do things on a consistent basis at a level that he had never been asked before.”

• Boynton said it’s “vital” that freshman class build a relationship outside of the game. Marcus Watson, Avery Anderson and the Boone twins came in on an official visit at the same time last year.

• “I took them away from their parents, Avery, the Boone twins and Marcus, and set them in a room and told them, ‘You guys are going to be a big part of the future of this program, and the commitment has to start now, not just when you show up on campus.’ They took that to heart. They stayed in touch. They obviously supported each other through their high school seasons and were really excited to get here this summer.”

• Watson has a “great knack for scoring.”

• Hidde Roessink is “extremely smart.” “He’s a guy who came in here and totally bought into what we asked, even though it was completely foreign. And not just in the sense of being a foreign language and foreign country. A lot of what we did physically, they don’t necessarily lift weights and condition the same in Europe as we do here. He adapted well.”

• On Chris Harris, who initially signed with Texas A&M before a coaching change: “The way I recruit, I had a relationship with Chris since he was a freshman in high school, before I even knew he was good enough to play at this level. I obviously recruited a high school teammate of his (Tyrese Maxey), who’s at Kentucky now. I have just always supported those kids. DFW has been an important area for me and my career since I moved to Texas seven years ago now. Just kinda stayed in touch with him and kinda watched his career. I think it was pretty natural once he decided he wanted to move on from A&M. He thought this was something that made sense.”

• Right now it looks as if Harris will primarily play off the ball.

• Today was the end of the Cowboys’ boot camp. Last year, Yor Anei almost didn’t make it through it. Tuesday, he was one of the better guys out there.

• Boynton said he was as hard on Anei as anybody on the team last year, in part because he saw what Anei could become.

• “Ice (Isaac Likekele), I think his progression has been, probably a little bit expedited. He started every game. I had to live and die with him in some ways. We obviously got short on guys and rode him quite a bit. His experience this summer with USA Basketball, I think, took him to another level.”

• On the team wearing “BOONE” patches this season: “I can’t even really put it into words. I never got to go out to his ranch, which everybody tells me is like the most phenomenal place on earth, but I did spend some time with him in Dallas and a couple of the times he came to visit in Stillwater the last couple years. He just had so much passion for this university and wanted us to be excellent at everything and really stepped out there to give us a chance.”

• Many of the freshmen have never been asked to play defense before now.

• On new graduate assistant Dallas Cameron, who Boynton coached at SFA: “It’s awesome. People talk about Erik and Cannen, and rightfully so, they’re gonna be great. Dallas is going to be as valuable to our program as those guys just because he’s played in this system. He was that guy in the gym with me and our staff before and understands what it looks like to have success. I believe he was a three-time state champion in high school. He was a three-time conference champion in college. So winning is something he’s very comfortable and familiar with.”

• Graduate transfer Jonathan Laurent is a hard worker and a team-first guy.

• Cam McGriff was disappointed he didn’t shoot the ball last season as well as he did as a sophomore, and that’s something he worked at during the offseason.

• Boynton said he doesn’t know much about how the new guys’ minutes will shake out to this point.

• “If you want to be successful as a team, everybody’s gotta sacrifice something.”

• “They young guys gotta understand, (last year’s starters) aren’t trying to just give away their minutes. If they’re coming into play, they’re gonna have to work and earn it.”

• “Ice hasn’t been able to practice a ton so far, but when he’s got out there, he’s made it known to Avery like, ‘I know you expect to play a lot. I was a point guard, I expect to be the point guard.'”

• “It’s hard to imagine that anybody starting their first two years as a head coach would have experienced all the non-basketball things that we’ve experienced. But I think it’s part of the story for us. That’s the approach we’ve taken. It’s stuff we have the opportunity to learn from and be better for. Then we can look back, and hopefully, think of it as just a small blip on our way to the type of success we want to have.”

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