Oklahoma State starting point guard Isaac Likekele announced Tuesday on Twitter that he is returning to Stillwater for his final two years of eligibility.
His announcement comes a few hours after Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported Yor Anei entered his name into the transfer portal and will seek immediate eligibility at his new program via a hardship waiver. That hardship is the sanctions the NCAA recently levied on the program that will keep the Cowboys out of the 2021 postseason.
Likekele’s words in the above post reminds me of Cade Cunningham’s commitment video when he stated “blood is thicker than water.” Of course the “blood” he’s referring to mostly has to do with his brother Cannen, who is on the coaching staff at OSU, but it also speaks the relationship coach Boynton has made with his players during his three years in Stillwater.
He states his reasoning further in this Tweet.
While the “Cowboy Culture” has been under much media and public scrutiny in the last 24 hours due to Monday’s Mike Gundy news, coach Mike Boynton has continuously proved what the “Cowboy Culture” is all about.
Likekele stated that he would “only eat with the ones I starved with,” and said in an interview with Jeff Goodman that “there wasn’t any way I could leave... my relationship with coach Boynton is something I wouldn’t trade for no amount of success or money.”
There are rumors as well that many current and committed members of the program will stay with OSU, including Cade Cunningham. While time will tell who stays and who decides to transfer, it is a testament to the kind of program Boynton has built that so many players are considering staying through sanctions that would have most looking to transfer.
The work that Mike Boynton and his staff have done over the past 10 days may be even more impressive than their 2020 recruiting efforts that led to a top-five class. It was widely expected for Oklahoma State to be hit with a number of departures in the wake of the NCAA’s sanctions, but that has not happened. This goes to show the strength of the culture Boynton has built within the Cowboys program. Right now, it appears that everyone will be returning to Stillwater, but there could be one or two that decide to transfer before all is said and done. More importantly, based on what I have heard, the expectation right now is that Cade Cunningham will still be enrolling. Oklahoma State players are scheduled to return to campus next Monday in preparation for offseason workouts. While much could play out in the coming days, Boynton looks to have made it through the abyss and will bring in a group that could compete for a league title and, if the program’s appeal is granted, make noise next March.
That blurb comes from Rivals’ Corey Evans weekly mailbag that he posted earlier today, which you can read here. While some will transfer, it is expected as of right now that most will stay. One thing is for sure: count Isaac Likekele in.