Earlier this week I wrote about Isaac Likekele’s fantastic freshman season and how I think he will be a key component for the success of this Oklahoma State team moving forward. Now, I’m really excited about Ice’s future in Stillwater, however there is one guy who i think is even more intriguing than the young point guard. That is Cowboy freshman big man Yor Anei.
Coming into the season, I thought Anei had a chance to see the floor, due to the lack of depth the Pokes had down low. Although, I can honestly say I didn’t think the Kansas native would have anywhere near the impact he did for the Cowboys. Anei finished his freshman campaign averaging 7.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and a Big 12 leading 2.5 blocks per game. Not only did Anei’s blocks per game average lead the conference, but it was also ranked him eighth in the nation. In addition, Anei was the first Oklahoma State player since Bryant Reeves during the 1993-1994 season to average over two blocks per game while also averaging more than seven points per game. That’s pretty good company to be in for the young big.
Anei finished the season strong, averaging 15.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.0 blocks over the final week of the season, which earned him Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors.
— Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) March 12, 2019
Big time blocks like the one shown below helped Anei acheive the conference’s weekly award.
However, he wasn’t selected for the Big 12 All-Freshman Team or the Big 12 All-Defensive Team. In fact, PFB’s Marshall Scott informed me that Anei is the only the third player in the history of the conference to lead the league in blocks but not make the All-Defensive Team. Although, I don’t foresee him being left off again in his OSU career.
Along with being a dominant force as a rim protector, Anei was also extremely efficient on offense shooting 60.7 percent from the field on the year. To qualify to be ranked in the conference for field goal percentage, a player has to average five or more field goal attempts per game. Anei average just under that at 4.8, but he would’ve been near the top of the list if he were to have qualified.
He was able to score in a multitude of different ways, including as a rim runner on out of the pick and roll, as shown below.
As well as creating his own shot working in the low post.
In addition, he was able to convert some second chance looks with his 1.8 offensive rebounds per game, which was good for 11th in the conference.
Anei still has some room for improvement, including his pick and roll defense (although he moves pretty well on the perimeter for a big), he can continue working on his free throws after finishing the season strong in that department, and become more of a facilitator out of the low post. Overall though, I think Anei showed this season that he is capable of being one of the best all around big men since Big Country, and is going to put up the stats to back it up.
Oklahoma State will be adding to the big man rotation with talented in-state product Kalib Boone, and I can’t wait to see what he an Anei are able to do together in the Cowboy frontcourt.