Now that the dust has settled (hopefully) on who’s in and who’s out for the upcoming men’s basketball season, I wanted to dive into my favorite potential starting lineup and how they might work well together. Let’s start at point guard.
No. 2 - Cade Cunningham
Shocker, right? The reigning Naismith High School Player of the Year is coming in with astronomical buzz and expectations for what he’ll be able to do in Stillwater. His list of accolades is longer than a pre-COVID line to get into Eskimo Joe’s before a home game. At 6-8, 220 lbs, Cunningham dwarfs all other starting point guards in the Big 12. And probably nationally as well. Not enough can be said about how excited fans are to get to see No. 2 in action inside a hopefully somewhat-packed GIA come November-March.
No. 13 - Isaac Likekele
The best returning player from last year’s squad will have to do some adjusting for the 2020-21 campaign. I’m very interested to see how Coach Boynton gets these two physically imposing guards to work together. While there’s been footage of Ice putting up (and making) more deep shots, that’s not his game. At least, not that we’ve seen. He needs the ball in his hands and excels when taking smaller guards to the hoop. Just how often he’ll be the primary ball handler remains to be seen, but one thing is clear; the Cowboy will not lack size and strength in the backcourt.
No. 0 - Avery Anderson III
I did say this was my favorite potential lineup, didn’t I? Despite having all the size and skill in the world at point guard next year, this team is kinda.. small. At the moment, transfer Bernard Kouma and freshman Montreal Pena are the tallest guys on the roster at 6-10. That’s by no means small, but will either of them start? I have my doubts.
That brings us to my selection for this hypothetical starting lineup. I’m a believer in the jump a sophomore can make, i.e. Isaac Likekele last year. With Anderson on the floor, you have another skilled ball handler with elite speed defensively. That’s the main reason I want him on the floor. Let him guard the opposing PG, because at 6-3 (and added muscle over the off-season), he’s no slouch. That will allow Cunningham to guard a taller opponent and will (hopefully) create mismatches on the offensive side.
No. 12 - Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe
Will the 6-7 freshman from Ontario get the nod here? I sure hope so. Oklahoma State will feature the national high school player of the year from the United States (Cunningham) and Canada (Moncrieffe). That’s gotta be pretty rare. Though ranked as a fringe 4 star by most recruiting sites, I think MAM has a chance to start from day 1 and fill a Cam McGriff-sized hole for the Pokes this next year. Reading this from Jerry Meyer of 247Sports.com literally had me thinking of Cam:
“A lanky, athletic, slashing small forward. Slippery on the drive with great body control. Can attack the basket with either hand and finishes well with either hand. Jump shot can keep defense honest. Can also find teammates while on the move. Great potential defensively and as a rebounder. Multipositional defender who can make plays with his activity. Expect to hear his name called in the second round of the NBA draft.”
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
No. 22 - Kalib Boone
Boy did the light start coming on for Boone at the end of last season or what? He became borderline automatic from down low at times, utilizing post-moves and scoring with ease. I’m thrilled to find out if he can take that next step toward becoming the force he has the potential to be. Aside from Cunningham and Moncrieffe, Boone is the next player I’m excited to watch this upcoming season. He has all the makings of becoming a legitimate, reliable post player that Oklahoma State hasn’t had since.. Marshall Moses? Mike Cobbins?