Season Preview: Oklahoma State
Last Season: 20-13, NCAA 1st Round
Key Losses: Jawun Evans, Phil Forte III, Leyton Hammonds, Brad Underwood
Key Additions: Zack Dawson, Mike Boynton
The Oklahoma State Cowboys surpassed expectations last year when they made a tournament appearance and finished fifth in the Big 12 with a 9-9 record in conference. A lot of this credit is due to former head coach, Brad Underwood, who has since taken a job with the Fighting Illini at Illinois. Underwood’s Cowboys narrowly lost in the first round of the tournament after running into the red-hot Big Ten champions in the Michigan Wolverines. Another guy Oklahoma State will be sad to see go is their former point guard Juwan Evans, who uses his quickness to create space and open shots for himself and teammates. The now Los Angeles Clipper averaged 19.2 points per game last season, and was a large part of their turnaround season.
Coach Underwood is probably the more notable loss though, and he is being replaced by 35-year-old Mike Boynton, who spent last year as an assistant coach for the Cowboys, and played point guard for four years at South Carolina. Fortunately, he still has one of Underwood’s quality recruits in 6’4” guard Zack Dawson. The Miami native thrives in his versatility, being a two way player who can play on and off the ball. Dawson will have to step up in his first year if Oklahoma State wants to have the same dynamic offensively again this year. There will be many question marks for the Cowboys that they have to answer to for a good year.
Among the known parts of the roster, however, are proven commodities like the 6’6” Jeffrey Carroll. The senior averaged 17.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game in his junior season and will take on a large leadership role on this team. Brandon Averette, Lindy Waters III, and Davon Dillard will look to get more minutes and have bigger roles this season as well with the departures of Evans, Forte, and Hammonds. Oklahoma State has a chance at making the tournament, but things will really have to work in their favor for that to happen.
Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Brandon Averette
SG: Lindy Waters III
SF: Jeffrey Carroll
PF: Mitchell Solomon
C: Lucas N’Guessan