The Oklahoma State Cowboys boast tremendous frontcourt depth and bring in two experienced mid-major transfers to the backcourt.
Mike Boynton has kept the Oklahoma State Cowboys fairly relevant in the Big 12, but heading into year seven as the head coach, there is some pressure to help the program rise in the standings. His Cowboys have never finished higher than 5th in the Big 12, and with conference realignment affecting the conference this year, with the additions of four new teams, it’s a great time to set their ground.
This season, OK State will move past point guard Avery Anderson III, Kalib Boone, Caleb Asberry, and Moussa Cisse. That’s a decent chunk of important players from last year’s team, but nothing irreplaceable. Boynton did a great job of finding some underrated mid-major stars in the transfer portal and also brought in a very good recruiting class.
The most intriguing part of this year’s team is the frontcourt. Who will start at center? I’m going with Brandon Garrison, a top-40 recruit, to share the post with a fellow top-60 recruit in Eric Dailey Jr. There’s also 7-footer Isaiah Miranda, who is a former top-60 recruit, and Jacksonville transfer Mike Marsh. Boynton has options at power forward and center, which is never a bad thing.
On paper, it looks like a very talented team, but the Big 12 is one of, if not the toughest conference in college basketball. The Cowboys will have to buckle up for the season ahead and will need to develop a true star.
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Head coach: Mike Boynton (7th season, all at Oklahoma State)
2022-23 record: 20-16 (8-10)
2023 postseason finish: Lost to North Texas, 65-59, in NIT quarterfinals
Notable departures: Avery Anderson III (Transferred to TCU), Kalib Boone (Transferred to UNLV), Caleb Asberry (Graduated), Moussa Cisse (Transferred to Ole Miss), Tyreek Smith (Transferred to SMU), Woody Newton (Transferred to George Mason)
Notable non-conference games: vs. St. Bonaventure (Nov. 16), vs. Auburn OR Notre Dame (Nov. 17), vs. Creighton (Nov. 30)
PG: Javon Small (6-3, 195, Jr.)
2022-23 stats: 15.8 PPG, 5.6 APG, 4.8 RPG, 1.2 SPG (East Carolina)
SG: John-Michael Wright (6-1, 190, Gr.-Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 9.8 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.0 APG, 36.1 FG%
SF: Bryce Thompson (6-6, 205, Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 11.8 PPG, 2.6 APG, 2.6 RPG, 37.0 3P%
PF: Eric Dailey Jr. (6-8, 230, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 55 rated recruit
C: Brandon Garrison (6-11, 245, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 36 rated recruit
6: Jarius Hicklen (6-4, 180, Gr.-Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 12.5 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, 36.1 3P% (North Florida)
7: Isaiah Miranda (7-1, 220, Rs.-Fr.)
2022-23: Redshirted at NC State
2022 247Sports Composite No. 48 rated recruit
8: Quion Williams (6-5, 220, So.)
2022-23 stats: 3.2 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 0.9 APG, 35.3 FG%
9: Mike Marsh (6-10, 250, Rs.-Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 10.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 0.8 APG, 55.2 FG% (Jacksonville)
10: Justin McBride (6-8, 230, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 116 rated recruit
11: Jamyron Keller (6-3, 210, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 144 rated recruit
Oklahoma State Cowboys MVP: Bryce Thompson
One of two returning stars from last year’s Cowboys team, Thompson could be in for a big year. While he certainly has help around him, most of the incoming talent is either highly-rated recruits or transfers coming from the mid-major level. As a 6-6 guard, Thompson has a chance to take command and give the Oklahoma State Cowboys their first true scoring threat since Cade Cunningham.
For Thompson, it’s all about expanding his game. Throughout his career, well over half of his shot attempts have been from three-point range. That’s not a bad thing – Thompson connected on a career-high 37% of his threes last season. But by making an effort to drive to the basket and developing more of a mid-range game, Thompson can be an elite scorer at the Big 12 level.
Oklahoma State Cowboys make-or-break player: John-Michael Wright
Likely the sidekick to Thompson, Wright is also a good scorer. However, coming over from High Point, he had his struggles in the Big 12 last season.
Despite putting up 9.8 PPG, Wright only shot it at 36.1% from the field. As a 6-1 guard playing in a power conference, shots won’t come easy, but the Cowboys will need Wright to be more efficient, especially as even more mid-major guys make the transition on the team this year. In his sophomore year at High Point, Wright averaged 20.7 PPG at 41% from the field. That’s the type of Wright Oklahoma Stat needs.
Wright will also be key in helping Javon Small and Jarius Hicklen in the backcourt. Both mid-major players will run the point for OK State this season, but Wright can also chip in when needed. It’s key having an experienced guy like Wright to help some of these new Cowboys along.
Key analytic: 3P%
It might be basic, but it’s crucial for the Cowboys to be better from deep. Last year, they shot it at 31% from outside as a team, 333rd in the country.
How did Mike Boynton look to improve that number? North Florida transfer Jarius Hicklen shot 36.1% from outside last season. Of course, Thompson and Wright are also good from deep, so that gives the Cowboys a third player who can hit consistently from outside.
If we’re also being honest, despite losing talent, the Oklahoma State Cowboys also lost some pretty dismal three-point shooters. Tyreek Smith? 16.7% from downtown. Anderson III? Not much better, at 18%. I could go on and on, but Asberry was the only key player gone from last year’s team who was competent from three, shooting it at 34.5%.
The Cowboys should be a much improved team from behind the arc.
Oklahoma State Cowboys 2023-24 projections
Projected conference finish: 9th in the Big 12
Projected postseason ceiling: NCAA Tournament – Round of 64 Exit