After the departures of what felt like half of the basketball team in the middle of last season, Oklahoma State went from needing to find a way to open a scholarship for commit Marcus Watson to having two spots to fill.
The Pokes have not received a commitment in the class of 2019 since Watson last fall and have reached out to several prospects in the last couple of weeks. The pickings are becoming slim as we inch closer to high school graduation. Most recruits have already signed although the transfer market is becoming more active as we head into the Final Four.
Chris Harris Jr. is the top target for Mike Boynton. Texas Tech making the Final Four doesn’t help the Pokes’ chances though, as the Red Raiders are high on Harris’ list. A decision from Harris is expected to come soon (he’s only got seven or eight weeks until his high school graduation, so a decision can’t be too far off.)
Oklahoma State has at least a decent chance of landing Harris but it won’t be a surprise if he picks Texas Tech. With that in mind, here are some of the other options left to fill out the class.
Kevin Cross, Power Forward
Cross is a 6-foot-8 forward from Little Rock, Arkansas, who only holds two other known offers: Southern Mississippi and Illinois. He has been so overlooked that he doesn’t have a 247sports profile. He isn’t on Rivals or ESPN’s recruiting sites as well. All three of his offers have come since March 27.
He is a bigger forward that has an ideal skill set for today’s game. At 6-8, he is comfortable as a primary ball handler and has the size to barrel his way to the rim. Cross also uses that size to his advantage on defense by blocking shots and hauling in rebounds. Because of his ball handling skills, Cross is able to stretch the floor, making opposing big men come out to the perimeter to guard him. This helps open up the paint, making it easy for his teammates to cut to the rim.
Cross is clearly most comfortable being down on the block and uses impressive footwork to get easy buckets. His ability to push the ball up the floor through traffic like a guard is truly impressive although he is raw in some areas. He isn’t very comfortable shooting from outside yet but he also didn’t need to do a whole lot of that playing at Mills. His primary job was to get buckets in the post and rebound.
With Mike Boynton bringing in one of the most talented top-to-bottom recruiting classes that OSU has ever seen, adding a guy like Cross might be more ideal than a top-end prospect. Cross is a project who could be molded into a solid contributor, but won’t be expected to play much early in his career. The problem with adding a guy like Chris Harris is bringing in four-five guys who will expect serious minutes next season.
Brendan Wenzel, Shooting Guard
Wenzel is similar to Cross in that he has flown seriously under the radar. The 6-6 shooting guard had originally signed his NLI to play for UTEP, but was recently released from that NLI. Since then, a number of schools have reached out looking to round out their classes.
Texas, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, SMU, Utah and many others have been in contact with @WenzelBrendan since he received his release from his NLI to UTEP.— Zach Mason (@ZachMasonSports) April 3, 2019
High-quality prospect. Can’t wait to see where he lands.
Wenzel does have a 247sports profile but is not ranked by 247 or their composite. In fact, their site still shows that he is committed to UTEP and shows none of his new interests. Wenzel has several good options despite reopening his recruitment so late in the process.
Even at the 6A level in Texas, Wenzel looks big compared to everyone else on the court despite being a shooting guard. He is a big 6-6 and uses good strength to finish through contact around the rim. He also has a pretty sweet shooting stroke and is another guy that would have the chance to be molded into a player who could receive serious minutes later in his college career but wouldn’t be expected to contribute right away.
Now that we’ve looked at two high school players, lets look at a potential “sit-one play-two” graduate transfer.
David Jenkins, Point Guard
Jenkins averaged 19.7 points on 45.8 percent shooting as a sophomore last season at South Dakota State. This includes a 19-point effort in an NIT loss to Texas.
Just like Wenzel, there are many potential suitors for Jenkins. Guys with the numbers that Jenkins have don’t normally decide to transfer if they can’t make a significant jump in where they’re headed. He was under-recruited out of Tacoma, Washington, and will now find a program that better suits his level of talent.
A 6-2 point guard, Jenkins has heard from Arizona, Oregon and TCU in addition to Oklahoma State. He’ll have his pick of several middle to upper-middle tier programs of which to transfer to. Penny Hardaway and Memphis have also reached out to the sophomore guard, who will sit out one year due to transfer rules before being eligible to play his final two years.