After a win over 4th-ranked Oklahoma last weekend, the buzz around Boynton and what he’s brought to the program is palpable. With a depleted roster and minimal star power at his disposal, he’s made Oklahoma State competitive in the Big 12, a feat that is only accomplished by a good-to-great basketball coach. Without a doubt, he’s getting the most out of his players.
Put this in perspective: Oklahoma State basketball is more competitive today than they were last year in Brad Underwood’s first year. Oh, and about that first year ... Underwood had an NBA point guard in Jawun Evans at his disposal. See where this is headed?
We should all be rallying around this head coach. If, for some odd reason, you are not yet, allow me to lay out the reasons why you should.
He’s passionate about recruiting:
Mike Boynton started hot on the recruiting trail from pretty much the moment he was named head coach.
He was off finding the next round of talent from the time he was named head coach. Not only does he love being on the road recruiting, but he's pretty dang good at it. He was able to keep four-star player Zack Dawson (who has since been kicked off the team) after Brad Underwood ditched town for Illinois.
He's proven that he cares about the future of this program, and he’s building that right now.
His honesty is refreshing:
After most games with most coaches, you’ll get one of two things on Twitter: A heavy dose of meaningless coach-speak, or dead silence. Boynton, however, shows his true feelings after each game.
Take the one after the first Bedlam game for example:
Got our butts kicked. Knocked down... but not out! Back to film and court work in the AM. #GoPokes— Mike Boynton (@thacoachmike) January 4, 2018
And judging by the win on Saturday, it looks like he learned his lesson.
This next one from after the West Virginia game is great because he's not blaming anyone but himself and saying that he's gonna work harder. His after-game mentality is awesome and I love that we get to see into his mind through his tweets.
Effort is there, but effort is not enough in this league... execution must get better. That's on ME! Gotta learn from it and get ready for the next one. Thanks to our crowd for fighting with us. #LetsWork— Mike Boynton (@thacoachmike) December 30, 2017
But that’s just the easy stuff ... Not only has Boynton been extremely honest when putting his thoughts on Twitter, he’s even been willing to answer questions from those who ask about coaching decisions he’s made.
Down 9 at the time... thought we need more of a perimeter attack offensively and pressing lineup defensively. Will watch the film to see of the other option would have been better.— Mike Boynton (@thacoachmike) December 30, 2017
Keith... first off Merry Christmas to you and your family. Secondly, no aolpologies necessary. I get the frustration and even some anger initially. My job is to get the kids to buy in & believe... and by their play, get the fans on board. #stillworking— Mike Boynton (@thacoachmike) December 26, 2017
Handlin’ of the Scandlin’:
On the eve of the start of his first season as head coach, Mike Boynton had a bomb dropped on him when one of his assistant coaches, Lamont Evans, was named in the FBI investigation regarding corruption in college basketball. Boynton handled that in the best way possible. He answered what he could, but didn't hide anything. He was very poised and calm, and did just about all you could have asked. Here's that press conference.
He’s off to a better start than his mentor... A MUCH better start.
Underwood didn't have a Big 12 win until seven games into the conference schedule (people forget that). Boynton got his first conference victory in three games, and his team has seemingly gotten better as the weeks have gone on. It appears that he’s learning from each game, and has proven he knows what it takes to play in this league. It’s clear that all options are on the table when it comes to making adjustments. Oh, and he’s done all of this without the likes of Jawun Evans, Phil Forte, and Leyton Hammonds.
He’s bringing Defense back:
Boynton is bringing the program back to it’s roots. Quickly.
Eddie Sutton stood for defense, so he emblazoned the word DEFENSE across the practice shorts. After hearing that story from coach Sutton, @thacoachmike decided to bring that tradition back. #letswork #okstate— Cowboy Basketball (@OSUMBB) November 8, 2017
➡️ https://t.co/L8qD1xlrw4 pic.twitter.com/NTzaBqECvO
The Pokes have 135 blocks and 79 steals so far this season, as well as 723 defensive rebounds. Knowing that Boynton comes from the Underwood Family Tree of elite offense and porous defense, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with those numbers.
Boynton has met the challenge of his first head coaching job as well as you could expect. As with any first year coach, there have been growing pains, and there will still be some lapses in judgement. However, it is our turn to show support and get behind this coach, and program, again. Boynton will be here for the foreseeable future, and the the future looks bright.