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Takeaways from Oklahoma State’s first practice of New Era

Twenty-one NBA teams watched the Cowboys’ opening practice.

City Of Palms Classic Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Oklahoma State Cowboys fans have a lot of reasons to be excited for this upcoming men’s basketball season, highlighted by Cade Cunningham, the projected top overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

OSU head coach Mike Boynton decided to provide a livestream of the Cowboys’ first practice Thursday. Boynton tweeted that 21 of the 30 NBA teams checked in on the practice. Here are some thoughts from day one of the highly anticipated 2020-21 OSU hoops season.

  • The Cowboys started with a 1-on-1 defensive drills that were all about playing defense in today’s freedom-of-movement basketball. Avery Anderson has some crazy burst. Chris Harris is still wearing his knee brace.
  • I don’t know where my expectations were, but the production quality was very good. Team and individual player graphics with stats along with multiple cameras. The media team at OSU continues to impress.
  • Second set of drills was some sort of organized chaos 5 man continuous weave under the basket. I’m not sure what to take from this other than the purpose seemed to be to encourage communication. It was pretty crisp for a first day?
  • Third drill was a simulated offense versus defense drill where they pass and deny passing lanes. The late addition Kouma Bernard looks a little slow and raw, but he provides much needed size. Kalib and Keylan Boone and freshmen Montreal Pena and Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe are those long athletes teams like Baylor have killed the Pokes with in the past. Rondel Walker’s nickname is “Snoop”, Chris Harris is “Chrissy”, Montreal is “Trell”. Most importantly Boynton seems to have pulled a page out of OSU football coach Mike Gundy’s book and calls Cunningham “2.”
  • Oops, spoke too soon on production quality, the feed started sputtering about 30 minutes in (the problems seemed to go away and stay away after this though).
  • When the feed came back they did the effort drill Boynton himself displayed a year ago where he took a charge and dove on a ball. There was much mopping of the white maple.
  • Bernard looked more comfortable as the drills got closer to the rim. Also, Cade started his position drills with the forwards… Probably just a sign that Cade is willing to do whatever it takes to put this team on his back.
  • All-Canadian Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe fills out the No. 12 that Cameron McGriff left for him very well. He is more skilled at this point than McGriff was as a Freshman, and at a similar athleticism.
  • Cunningham’s passing is as good as advertised.
  • Boynton works his players hard and expects a lot, but there’s a ton of patience and respect too. It was fun to hear him talk technical hoops when he was drawing up plays.
  • Anderson has some quick hands. This team could be pretty good defensively on the perimeter.
  • There were definitely times when it looked like the first practice. The team is talented though, and like all of Boynton’s teams have, they’re going to compete.
  • How cool would it be to be a walk-on this season and get to play with Cunningham?
  • They did some 3-on-3 drills against the coaches and there was some fun trash talk between the players and Boynton.
  • Pena is super, super bouncy.
  • Cal Baptist transfer Ferron Flavors can shoot.
  • Isaac “Ice” Likekele is definitely the leader of this team, and that makes sense as he *checks notes* is the most tenured scholarship player on the team. This team gained a lot of talent but lost a lot of senior leadership too.

Here’s the full practice video if you’re interested: