Oklahoma State basketball loses Cade Cunningham, but the return of their other top seven scorers and the addition of two former five-star recruits make this Cowboys team dangerous.
Last year, Oklahoma State basketball finally put their name on the map thanks to Cade Cunningham, a first-team All-American and the eventual #1 pick in the NBA Draft. Oklahoma State finished with their highest seed ranking since 2005, only to be upset by a surprising Oregon State team.
While Cunningham made the (smart) decision to leave, the rest of the rotation decided to run it back in hopes of a similar level of play than last. They also added to former five-star transfers in Moussa Cisse and Bryce Thompson to solidify their core. In a tough Big 12, Oklahoma State will be one to watch any given night.
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PG: Isaac Likekele (6-5, 215, Sr.)
2021 stats: 9.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.1 steals
Projected stats: 9.5 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 1.5 steals
SG: Avery Anderson (6-3, 170, Jr.)
2021 stats: 12.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals
Projected stats: 14.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals
SF: Rondel Walker (6-4, 170, So.)
2021 stats: 7.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.2 steals
Projected stats: 9.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.3 steals
PF: Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe (6-7, 215, So.)
2021 stats: 9.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.6 steals
Projected stats: 11.2 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.8 steals
C: Kalib Boone (6-9, 210, Jr.)
2021 stats: 9.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.6 blocks
Projected stats: 10.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.8 blocks
6: Bryce Williams (6-2, 180, Sr.)
2021 stats: 7.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 steals
Projected stats: 8.9 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.0 steals
7: Moussa Cisse (6-10, 225, So.)
2021 stats: 6.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 1.6 blocks
Projected stats: 7.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 2.0 blocks
8: Bryce Thompson (6-5, 195, So.)
2021 stats: 4.6 points, 1.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.4 steals
Projected stats: 7.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 0.7 steals
9: Keylan Boone (6-8, 200, Jr.)
2021 stats: 4.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.3 blocks
Projected stats: 6.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.4 blocks
10: Woody Newton (6-8, 200, So.)
2021 stats: 3.5 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.1 assists, 0.3 steals
Projected stats: 4.4 points, 1.5 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.3 steals
11: Tyreek Smith (6-7, 220, So.)
2021 stats: 2.6 points, 2.4 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.7 blocks
Projected stats: 3.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists, 0.8 blocks
Team MVP: Avery Anderson
— OSU Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) March 8, 2021
This team is currently filled with very high-level players but no superstar, however, Anderson has the chance to change that. He took a huge leap last year, increasing his scoring by eight points per game, as well as increasing every other major statistical category. He’s a great scorer and is slowly incorporating that three-point which will make him even more dangerous. On the defensive side, he also brings the intensity, averaging 1.5 steals per game. If Anderson can take the leap needed, he can be a conference All-American and maybe even earn first-team honors.
Make-or-Break Player: Isaac Likekele
Likekele has been the heart and soul of this team for the last three years, always bringing the intensity on the defensive end and making a tricky layup when needed. Last year, he took a step back with the emergence of Cunningham, but this year he will have to go back to what he was able to do before. The big stat to notice is that his steals went from 1.9 a game to 1.1. Likekele will need to get that number back up, as well as become more of a true point guard for Oklahoma State basketball to really hit their peak.
Bench Rating: 10/10
— OSU Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) July 22, 2021
It’s very rare to give out a perfect score, but Oklahoma State’s bench could be one of the best in the country. They start it off with Bryce Williams, a really talented senior who took a big leap last year and could do the same this year.
Following him are the two five stars. If they can reach the potential that they showed in high school, it could make Oklahoma State a top ten team in the country. Don’t be surprised if Coach Boynton mixes and matches his starting lineups this year by adding Cisse and Thompson in there.
Boone is also a great option off the bench at that power forward spot. He brings a lot of energy to both ends of the floor and does more rights than wrongs.
Analytic to Know: AdjD
According to KenPom, Oklahoma State basketball had the 17th best AdjD (points allowed per 100 possessions) in the country. This was the second-best in the Big 12 and ahead of national champion Baylor. Likekele and Anderson will bring the energy in the backcourt, while Boone will protect the rim at whatever cost it takes. Cisse also averaged 1.8 blocks as a freshman, so there’s a chance that number will be even better this season.
— OSU Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) September 30, 2021
This Oklahoma State basketball team isn’t being talked about enough. People assume that with Cade gone, this team isn’t a threat, but that’s quite the opposite. When Oklahoma State played #6 West Virginia without Cunnigham, they beat them thanks to Anderson’s 31 points, showing they are capable of doing it on their own.
Oklahoma State faces a pretty easy non-conference schedule in the beginning, with their most notable opponent being Max Abmas and Oral Roberts. They then take on a pretty tough load of Xavier, Houston, and USC at the end of non-conference play, however, all three are at home.
Conference play will be as tough as ever, and they will have to realize that right away when they take on Texas Tech, Kansas, Texas, West Virginia, and Baylor as their first five games. Depending on how they do in those will really tell how good this team can be.
Overall, the buzz should be high in Stillwater, because this Oklahoma State basketball team can make a deep run in the tournament.