Oklahoma State held its first two practices of the year last week, and Marshall Scott covered them for us. He wrote a couple of notebooks (here and here) that you should check out and posted videos of players and coaches on our YouTube page. He had a couple of follow-up thoughts on the festivities, though, which we’ll get to starting today.
By: Marshall Scott
1. Starting Center Spot Up For Grabs
Entering the Cowboys’ first practice last week, I didn’t know what to expect with OSU’s frontcourt. Without Mitchell Solomon or Yankuba Sima there is a glaring opening down low, but OSU coach Mike Boynton has some options.
Unless Boynton wants to run small and puts Cameron McGriff at center, the likely suspects are all freshmen: Yor Anei, Kentrevious Jones and Maurice Calloo. All three have good shots for big men, but there is also a lot of work to be done before the season tips off.
Anei, listed at 6-10, is ridiculously long but needs to add weight to that frame. In his current state, teams will be able to keep him away from the basket, but on the defensive end, Anei’s long arms will be able to disrupt opposing offenses.
Jones, also listed at 6-10, could give some of his weight to Anei. Jones weighs 290 pounds now, but after watching OSU’s opening two practices, I have no doubt Boynton will trim him up. Jones doesn’t play above the rim as much as he should, but that should also be fixed when he gets in shape.
Calloo might be a better fit to backup McGriff at power forward, but at 6-9, he is the same height as Solomon, who played center all last season. As far as weight is concerned, Calloo is the closest of the three of where he needs to be and also probably brings the best coordination of the three at this point. It’s still way too early to tell, though.
2. Curtis Jones Can Fly
Curtis Jones is going to be a fan favorite in Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Jones, who will sit out until the second semester this season because of transfer rules, isn’t nice to rims. In Tuesday’s practice, he caught a pass on the block, took a drop step and nearly hit his face on the rim before a nice dunk.
Jones came to OSU last season after playing nearly 13 minutes a game for Indiana as a freshman where he averaged about five points.
Curtis Jones has bunnies. Earlier he threw down a drop-step with ease. pic.twitter.com/0z821U6Ixd
— Marshall Scott (@Marshall_Once) July 3, 2018
With how quick he is, it’s easy to forget Jones is 6-4, but he’ll let that athleticism be known any time he has an open lane to the basket, even if it’s just in practice.
3. Know Your Nicknames
As if it wasn’t difficult enough with all the new faces, seemingly everybody on this team has a nickname.
Some are easy, such as Kentrevious Jones, who gets called some form of “Kent.” Then there are ones that might make you do a double take but still make sense, such as Maurcie “Mo” Calloo.
My favorite, though, is graduate transfer Mike “Chico” Cunningham. Another good one is Isaac “Ice” Likekele. Returners with nicknames include Thomas “Dizzy” Dziagwa and Curtis “Cujo” Jones.