We’ve already done a recap of the Cowboys win over the Wildcats on Wednesday night, but I’m here to offer some additional thoughts and opinions on what took place and what could happen going forward.
Cam McGriff - Grown Man
During the second half of this season, and the last five games especially, the Crime Dog has shown us what we all believed and hoped he would become when he first stepped onto campus four years ago, looking like a fully-grown man even then. We always knew he was athletic. We knew he would compete and attempt to outwork everyone else on the floor no matter what. We knew he was capable of highlight-reel dunks. He gave us all of that (my, oh my did he have some moments)
That’s not a normal Freshman-thing one does in a college basketball game.
Flash forward to Senior year, and he’s become Oklahoma State’s most reliable scorer on a game by game basis. He’s elevated his game at a time where many wondered if the Pokes would win a single conference game. He’s reached double-digits in eleven straight games. He’s become what Cowboy fans always thought he could be.
What if Ice doesn’t get Mono?
That question will haunt memories of what this season could have been for a good long while. What would their record be if their best player at the time stays in the lineup and doesn’t take months to get back into form?
I hate playing the “what if” game. But damn, what if Issac Likelele never gets mono... https://t.co/IAlIXXcRey— Joel Penfield (@jtpenfield) March 5, 2020
Even though Likekele only missed 4 games, all the early season momentum the Cowboys built was squashed when he exited the starting line-up and Mac McClung eviscerated the Pokes to begin their 2-9 slide. They went from Top 25 and potential contender inside the Big 12 to conference obscurity.
The fact that they’ve recovered from an 0-8 start to be at 6-11 now is somewhat remarkable. And it only adds to the burning question of “What could’ve been?” for the 2019-20 season.
It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish
Okay, now that I’ve fulfilled my cheesy inspirational line quota, let’s break the end of this season down. First, go win in Austin. Texas has suddenly caught fire, and that game looks a lot less winnable than it did a couple weeks ago. Beat the Longhorns and finish 7-11 in conference play. Who would have thought that was possible back in January?
Next, knock off the Cyclones in the Big 12 tournament. Losing that game (and the Texas game) would really sour the momentum this team regained in the last few weeks. Then perhaps you steal (and I do mean steal) a game against Baylor in the next round. Think about it. The Cowboys have played the Bears close in both games thus far, and they always say, it’s hard to beat a team twice, much less three times.
After that, see what kind of postseason bid you get and continue developing the young core for next season. Kalib Boone = star. I know I’m prone to be a prisoner of the moment, but I’ve been very impressed at his maturation throughout the season, and he’s clearly got the athleticism and potential to be one of the best big men in the Big 12. I can’t wait to see how much more his game progresses once Cade comes to town and more than likely elevates the entire program to new heights.
Oh yeah, the #1 high school prospect is coming to Stillwater next year
In case you forgot, Cade Cunningham will in fact play out his lone collegiate season in a Cowboy uniform. I still don’t think it has set in that Oklahoma State will feature the top Freshman in the country on its squad next year. That’s a real thing that’s coming!
Expectations will be high, and deservedly so. When you recruit at the level Mike Boynton has been recruiting at, you set a high bar for yourself and your program. One that has been lowered in the last decade.
What a ride it’s going to be.