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Three Questions about Oklahoma State’s Basketball Roster as Lutz Continues to Add Pieces

OSU needs a big.

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[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Steve Lutz’s first Oklahoma State roster is filling up, as after starting his tenure with nine scholarships available, he is down to four.

Brandon Newman is the latest new Cowboy, having committed to OSU on Friday. With it coming down to the final pieces, I started looking at what needs the Cowboys still have.

Where Lutz and Co. have done an excellent job in thus far seems to be defense and grit. Arturo Dean joins as the national leader in steals from a season ago. Davonte Davis has an energy about him that is tough to match. And Robert Jennings II had a 16.3 offensive rebound percentage, which would have ranked eighth nationally had he logged enough minutes to qualify.

With that being said, here are three question areas I still have about OSU’s roster to this point.

1. Size

No one on OSU’s current roster was listed taller than 6-foot-7 last season.

If the Cowboys had to play a game as is, Jennings would likely be the Cowboys’ starting center. Tech listed him at 6-7, 230 pounds last season. After his commitment, Jennings told PFB he thinks he’ll play some center, and with Lutz’s up-tempo style, a small-ball center could help unlock some things. But, it’d be tough to imagine the Cowboys having a ton of success in the Big 12 without some more frontcourt depth.

And it seems as if Lutz and Co. have been on the lookout for that. Moussa Cisse took a visit to Stillwater before announcing a commitment to Memphis this past weekend.

Xavier transfer Abou Ousmane has also been on a visit to Stillwater. Ousmane was listed at 6-foot-10, 244 pounds last season. He started his career at North Texas, playing in 92 games (66 starts) in three seasons in Denton. He averaged double figures in scoring each of his past two seasons with the Mean Green before putting up 6.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game with Xavier this past season.

2. Scoring

Scoring is such a blanket term, and who knows? Lutz’s system could provide a player an outlet he might not have had in previous systems to score. But, here are the points per game from last season for everyone on the roster:

Name PPG
Bryce Thompson 11.6 (OSU)
Jamyron Keller 6.5 (OSU)
Connor Dow 1.9 (OSU)
Jeremiah Johnson N/A (incoming freshman)
Arturo Dean 13.4 (FIU)
Robert Jennings II 4.4 (Texas Tech)
Marchelus Avery 7.6 (UCF)
Davonte Davis 5.9 (Arkansas)
Brandon Newman 10.1 (Western Kentucky)

Three guys averaging double figures? OSU had only two of those last season, so what’s the issue?

Well, there might not be any issues, but it’s worth noting that Bryce Thompson is the only one of those double-figure scorers to do it at the high-major level last season.

Parts of Dean’s situation relate similarly to Javon Small of last offseason. Both had just finished up their sophomore seasons at a lower level before transferring to Oklahoma State, as Small put up 15.8 in his final season at East Carolina. The only worries I have with that is that Small was listed at 6-3 last season to Dean’s 5-11, and Small hit 33% of his 3s in his final season at ECU, where as Dean shot 30% from 3 last season. Again, totally plausible that Dean could take a step forward in scoring and 3-point shooting (Small shot 37% in his year with the Cowboys) this upcoming season, but it would probably be ideal to have another bonafide scorer on the roster.

Newman and Davis are interesting in that they’ve both shown to be scoring threats throughout their careers, but it’s a matter of how that will translate to Stillwater.

Newman put up eight points a game as a redshirt freshman at Purdue but fell off that pace in his final two seasons with the Boilermakers. He averaged 10.1 a game with Lutz at Western Kentucky, so now it’s about bringing that to the Big 12 from Conference USA.

Davis put up 10.9 points a game as a junior in 2022-23 before taking an odd step back this past season as the Razorbacks struggled.

If some combination of those guys can take a step forward  — whether it be because of Lutz’s system or just gained experience at the college level — OSU could be fine in the scoring department. But it’s hard to say for sure without seeing it come to life (duh).

3. 3-Point Shooting

The three teams Lutz has been the head coach for have all had success without relying on the 3 too heavily, which is why this is at the bottom of my list of questions.

Just 25.3% of the Hilltoppers’ points last season came from 3, which ranked 306th (of 362) nationally. OSU ranked 72nd nationally in that stat last season, for reference.

With that being said, here are the 3-point percentages from last season for everyone on the OSU roster currently:

Name 3P%
Bryce Thompson 34.4%
Jamyron Keller 27.8%
Connor Dow 24%
Jeremiah Johnson N/A (incoming freshman)
Arturo Dean 30.3%
Robert Jennings II N/A (didn’t attempt any)
Marchelus Avery 34.3%
Davonte Davis 24.2%
Brandon Newman 32.7%

For reference, last season Jarius Hicklen shot 38.8% and Small shot 37.4%.

Just like with the scoring, however, there are caveats as to why this could be just fine.

Newman shot 37.9% from 3 as a redshirt freshman. Thompson shot 37% as during the 2022-23 season. Avery shot 41.8% (!!) at New Mexico State in 2022-23. Davis shot 34.6 % during the 2022-23 season.

If that quartet can get closer to those types of numbers, the Cowboys will be just fine. If not, it might be worth looking for some more 3-point help with these final scholarships.

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