There is plenty to talk about heading into the upcoming basketball season. Jawun Evans has a chance to move onto draft boards after an impressive freshman season that ended with him taking home Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors. Phil Forte is set for one last go-around with the Cowboys, and highly-touted freshman Cameron McGriff should have an immediate impact with the team. Not to mention senior forward Leyton Hammonds will have a chance to build on the breakout year he put together last season in which he averaged 10.6 points and a team-high 5.1 rebounds per game.
With all that circulating around the Cowboys’ basketball program, Lindy Waters is waiting in the shadows ready to surprise everyone. The shooting guard from Norman, Oklahoma was ranked as the 164th best high school prospect - fourth in Oklahoma - by 247Sports. Despite not getting as much media attention as McGriff, he wasn’t far behind him in the rankings as 247Sports ranked McGriff at 143.
It’s easy to fall in love with Cameron McGriff. He was a four-star recruit by ESPN and has the perfect build to become one of the better small forwards in the Big 12, or an extremely athletic power forward. Size was not Oklahoma State’s strong suit last season, therefore being in awe with a player who brings that to the table is easy.
Although, Lindy Waters brings great size to the shooting guard position at 6’6” and has arguably as wide of a skill set as McGriff. Other than Oklahoma State fans and avid Big 12 followers, Lindy Waters is not a name that many people will have heard of heading into the upcoming season, but he has a very good chance of making a name for himself at Oklahoma State.
Of course, the first thing he has to do is not get in trouble. According to NewsOK, in high school, Waters sent a Snapchat with him holding an Airsoft pistol with the caption, “Who’s the shooter?” The picture ended up on Twitter and Waters was expelled, forcing him to attend a prep school in Wichita, Kansas. He later was able to return to Norman North.
It’s not the first time a young high school athlete made a mistake on social media, and it won’t be the last. Waters doesn’t seem like a bad person though, as this was the only major negative headline during his high school career. Waters also got offers from three Ivy League schools - Harvard, Yale and Princeton - showing his intelligence in the classroom, as well. If he’s able to stay smart on social media then he’ll have a chance to excel on the court.
It’s not hard to find which end he prides himself on - offense. He’s lanky at 6’6” and 200 pounds, but, like any freshman, he’ll put on muscle throughout the offseason and season. He’s already put on 15-20 pounds as he came to Oklahoma State listed around 180-185 pounds.
Waters owned great size in high school and that will continue to be a trend in college. He’s currently listed as the tallest guard on the team - a big reason why his skill set is so dangerous. His size also makes him a candidate at small forward, which should help him see minutes as a freshman.
Offensively, Waters will be very hard to stop once he develops and gets acclimated to the college game. He’s quick, has good handles and can get to the basket. Waters relied on pump faking or trying to blow by his defender a lot in high school, and obviously that shouldn’t be someone’s go-to-move in college.
With that being said, he’s quick and can change directions on a dime which helps him with his favorite move - the crossover. Waters also has a developing spin move, however developing it to a tee will help him get by defenders in the paint and create more space for his long arms to shoot over defenders.
His athleticism and ability to get to the basket sets up what many believe is the strongest part of his game, his three-point shot. Waters has amazing range which extends beyond the college three. It really made it hard to guard him as you need to give him space so he doesn’t beat you off-the-dribble, yet you don’t want to allow him to shoot without contention, especially when considering his great size.
Also, being able to catch-and-shoot makes him a perfect candidate off the bench to play alongside Jawun Evans. Constant movement is something all great shooters do, and Waters is no different.
On defense, he still has work to do. The speed of the game will be faster, but his athleticism should at least help him a little as he learns to be a better defender.
As amazing as all of this sounds, Waters will need time to develop. He’s not Jayson Tatum or Harry Giles, and he’ll have many growing pains as a freshman and inconsistent minutes are expected. Also, he’ll no longer be the focal point of the offense like he was at Norman North, and coming off the bench will make his touches and shot selection even more important.
It won’t happen all at once but he has a chance to see valuable minutes off the bench as a freshman if his three-point shot starts to fall.
Although, coming off the bench and learning from fifth-year senior Phil Forte may be the best thing for Waters. Forte has been an exceptional three-point shooter his entire career - 44.1 percent in 2013/14 and 38 percent in 2014/15 - so taking Waters under his wing will be great for his development and will prepare him to take over as the starter as a sophomore.
Not to mention that Jawun Evans, one of the best point guards in the nation, will be passing him the ball. With Evans not gaining much NBA attention, yet, there’s a good chance Waters and Evans will get a chance to grow together for a couple of seasons and really mesh.
There is nothing more important than meshing with your point guard and being on the same page. It’s especially true since Lindy Waters is someone who can be an alley-oop target for Evans. Like previously noted, Waters is an amazing athlete. His highlight reel consists of highlight dunk after highlight dunk. He should show up on the highlight reel more than a couple of times as a freshman, and it’ll make it easy for fans to fall in love with his game.
With Lindy Waters not being a name many people know, he has a chance to be in Stillwater for four seasons. Coming into a system with a new coach who loves to play fast, a group of solid returning players and a good recruiting class this season, with an ESPN Top 100 recruit next season, Waters has all the tools around him to have a very nice career as a Cowboy.
Don’t sleep on Lindy Waters because in a couple of seasons he has a chance to be the face of Oklahoma State basketball.