Fresh off a trip to Twin Falls, Idaho to speak at a coaches clinic, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Boynton (who apparently never sleeps) hopped on a jet to visit five-star combo-guard Cade Cunningham on Tuesday for his 18th birthday.
For Boynton, it was a chance to keep the Cowboys fresh on their top target’s mind ahead of his official visit to North Carolina this past weekend.
At the moment, the Tar Heels seem to pose the biggest threat to lure Cade away from Stillwater and his brother, Cannen, who was recently hired as an assistant coach. UNC had the chance to roll out the red carpet, feature Chapel Hill, take copious amounts of photos of him in the Carolina blue and white and give him VIP access to the Tar Heel’s football game, where they hosted #1 Clemson and nearly won.
While Cunningham was being courted by UNC, Oklahoma State had the opportunity to do the same with the top in-state prospect, five-star comb-guard Bryce Thompson. He is also being heavily recruited by the Tar Heels, but at this time, no one really knows who he is leaning towards.
Bryce attended the open practice at Gallagher-Iba Arena on Saturday and was accompanied by Rondel Walker (‘20 4 star SG) out of Putnam City West and Matt Stone (‘21 SF) from Kingfisher. Being there myself, it was clear that although this team is extremely young, there’s no shortage of confidence and excitement in how this team conducts itself. Dziagwa was still locked in from deep and McGriff was still trying to dunk on everybody who dared to jump with him at the rim.
While those things haven’t changed, one thing will be much different; the Cowboys will have legit talent on their bench. Boynton joked after the practice ended that the starters are thankful for all the newcomers since they might not have to average 38+ minutes a game this year. That’s going to allow them to stay fresh not only game by game, but throughout a Big 12 regular season that promises to be challenging once again.
Both Cunningham and Thompson have more visits to take before the early signing period in November, which is when both are expected to commit. Cade’s next three weekends are booked with trips to Florida, Kentucky, and Washington. Bryce will next attend KU’s Late Night in the Phog this Friday night in Lawrence on an unofficial visit.
As far as predictions go, I’m not prepared to say where either will end up. Nothing has changed recently as far as 247 Crystal Ball predictions go for either one. The most recent came in for Thompson to the Pokes on 8/1 and Cunningham to OSU on 9/4, shortly before his visit to Stillwater.
One thing is sure, Mike Boynton will not be outworked when it comes to recruiting these young men. If he’s able to land both, expectations inside Gallagher-Iba will skyrocket above their already high levels. If neither commit, the Cowboys will still have a very talented and exciting young core to build around from this most recent class and will look to return to relevance at both the conference and national level.
My gut says he gets at least one of them, but at this point, it could honestly be both, one, or neither. Not to sound like a #old, but such is the way it goes with recruiting these days.
One thing is sure, these next few weeks will have Cowboys fans everywhere dreaming about what this team could look like in the very near future, especially if Boynton can reel in what would certainly be considered one of the top recruiting classes in OSU basketball history.