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Hoops Recruiting: Who’s Next?

Why does Oklahoma State basketball seem to be struggling to land 2021 commits and seven names to keep an eye on.

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Conference Tournament-Oklahoma State vs Baylor Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

It took awhile, but Oklahoma State finally landed their first commitment for 2021 in Syracuse transfer Woody Newton.

It’s a little bit of relief to fans to finally see the Cowboys land a commitment for the class, especially after a year in which they landing the biggest recruit in the country and putting together a class nationally ranked in the Top-15 by every recruiting outlet that matters.

While the Cowboys aren’t done, the list of players they are targeting - both in the portal and in high school — continues to grow shorter and shorter as they commit elsewhere or narrow down their list of schools, excluding OSU in the process.

There are likely three issues that are affecting Oklahoma State on the recruiting trail:

No. 1: The Postseason Ban

Because Oklahoma State’s appeal of their postseason ban was unresolved ahead of postseason play in 2021, the Cowboys were allowed to participate in the Big 12 and NCAA tournament.

That’s not going to be the case for 2022, so the uncertainty of OSU’s post-season status for the upcoming season is certainly going to give some players pause, especially those transfers looking for one final season in college basketball.

No. 2: Scholarship count

During a normal season, Oklahoma State would be looking at at least three available scholarships with the exits of both Cade Cunningham (to the NBA) and Ferron Flavors (to Robert Morris) and whether or not Dee Mitchell is allowed to keep his for another season.

However, part of the punishment that was handed down to Oklahoma State by the NCAA was a scholarship ban; 1 scholarship a year for three years. With OSU’s appeal still ongoing, there is uncertainty as to just how many available scholarships Mike Boynton actually has to work with at this time. Based on offers, it feels like they expect to have at least two, but that does mean the coaching staff will be more deliberate in where they use them.

No. 3: Playing time

Barring an unforeseen exit in the coming weeks or months, Oklahoma State is set to return the bulk of their minutes played this past season.

Avery Anderson is testing the NBA draft process, but has not yet hired an agent so he can return. There’s also the questions about whether Bryce Williams uses his extra year of eligibility or if his dislike of school outweighs his desire to play another season.

Other than that, every one other than Cade Cunningham and Ferron Flavors should be back next season. Plus guys like Chris Harris Jr. and Donovan Williams will be returning from injury.

So who is Oklahoma State in on? There are a few highly-rated 2021 prospects as well as a few players in the transfer portal that OSU has been connected with.

2021 prospects

Jalen Ricks, SG, 3 Star

Oklahoma State is in good standing with the three-star shooting guard from Sherwood, Arkansas. They joined Arkansas, Georgia State, Ohio, Oral Roberts, Southern Illinois, TCU and Towson in his “final 8” earlier in April.

Rated as the No. 44 shooting guard in the class by 247Sports, Ricks averaged 10.7 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds, to go along with 2.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game in 23 games this past season.

Khalil Brantley, PG, 3 Star

Things have gone rather quiet on the Brantley front. The Brooklyn native announced a Top 10 on Twitter back in November that included OSU, Creighton, Seton Hall, Iona, La Salle, Manhattan, Georgetown, Oklahoma State, Hofstra, Vermont and North Carolina A&T. That said, there hasn’t been much about his since then.

Brantley is rated as the No. 3 prospect in the state of New York and the No. 23 point guard in the class by 247Sports.

There are a few other uncommitted 2021 prospects that Oklahoma State has offered, including point guard KJ Pruitt and small forward Jared Shorter, but there has been little to no information about their recruitment made public recently.

Transfers

Bayron Matos, Freshman, C, New Mexico

Oklahoma State officially offered the 6-foot-9 center from New Mexico on Thursday night. Matos also claims offers from Washington State, Tulsa, St. Johns, South Florida, Seton Hall, East Tennesee State, and Tennessee State.

Other schools that have reached out but not made an offer include Illinois, Missouri, Texas Tech, Xavier, Georgia State, New Mexico State, BYU, Cal Baptist, Cal State Bakersfield, Southern Utah, and South Alabama.

Matos who averaged 6.2 points per game on 52.6% shooting. He also pulled 4.1 rebounds per game in the 20 games he played in this last season.

He has four years of eligibility remaining.

Matos announced on Twitter that he will make his decision on April 27th.

Bryson Williams, Senior, F, UTEP

One of the most recent additions to the transfer portal, the graduate transfer has heard and talked to a number of schools including OSU, Washington, Texas A&M, Arkansas, USC, Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma.

Williams averaged 15.1 points and 7.1 rebounds a game this past season and has been the Miners best player during his time there, also earning All-CUSA twice. He actually put up 23 points in that weird, scheduled last minute game against Kansas at the end of the regular season.

Texas is real contender here, as his now former UTEP head coach Rodney Terry just left to become an assistant for Chris Beard. Williams originally played at Fresno State but followed Terry from there to UTEP.

Jawaun Daniels, Junior, G, Prairie View A&M

OSU is one of a dozen or so schools to have reached out to the 6-foot-7 guard originally from New York. They join that other orange OSU school, and Creighton, among others. Daniels was Prairie View’s leading scorer this past season — and a SWAC second teamer — averaging 15.2 ppg on 54% shooting. He also shot 43% from beyond the arc and pulled down 6.1 rebounds a game.

I wouldn’t expect a decision from Daniels any time soon. He posted in a Tweet that he doesn’t plan to announce a commitment until after he graduates on May 15.

Cam’Ron Fletcher, Freshman, F, Kentucky

The former four-star, 6-foot-6 freshman from St. Louis has a full list of suitors, including OSU, Florida State, Iowa State, Marquette, Memphis, Tennessee, UCLA, and USC among others. His time at Kentucky wasn’t great. The talented wing was asked to step away from the Wildcats for a period in December after an emotional outburst on the bench. He only appeared in nine games for Kentucky, averaging 1.7 points and 1.7 rebounds, albeit on 54% shooting.

As of now, Iowa State appears to be a strong contender for Fletcher.

Devante Jones, Junior, G, Coastal Carolina

According to Dushawn London of 247Sports, Oklahoma State is one of at least 10 schools to have reached out to the reigning Sun Belt Player of the Year. The 6-foot-1 guard told ESPN that he also plans to enter his name into the NBA Draft.

Jones averaged 19.3 points and 7.2 rebounds this past season for the Chanticleers. He was named the Sun Belt Freshman of the Year back in 2018-19 and earned second-team All-Sun Belt honors as a sophomore.

Bryce Thompson, Freshman, G, Kansas

There has been no official word whether Oklahoma State is back in consideration for the former five-star recruit from Tulsa (though a lot of whispers about the Golden Hurricanes) since he officially entered the transfer portal.

That said, considering OSU was considered one of the final candidates to land Thompson back in 2020, it would seem silly for them not to have at least reached out. Whether interest remains for Thompson remains to be seen, but he is still a name to keep an eye on.