By Brian Bass
This offseason has been fairly eventful for OSU’s basketball program from day one. After the departure of Underwood, the nationwide search for a new leader ended up being in Stillwater the whole time. With the promotion of Mike Boynton, Jr. to head coach, he went immediately to work after being instated. The mission to him was pretty clear: reload and recruit for this next year’s roster or undergo a rough rebuilding season in 2017. The decommitment of 3.5 star PG Amauri Hardy was a rough start to the offseason but did not phase the coaching staff, as they did retain 4 star PG Zach Dawson from Miami. In the process, Boynton also managed to keep a hold of Dawson’s fellow teammate, 3.5 star PF Latravian Glover (so far).
Third signee is an unranked PF from Mali, Souleymane Diakite, who stands at a strong 6’8 230lbs. These two will more than likely have to share minutes with freshman standout Cameron McGriff, but like him, have a lot of upside. Dawson, Glover, and Diakite may be all of the incoming freshman recruits, but Boynton also made moves outside the realm of high school to fill out his roster for next year. This offseason he picked up some big time transfers that are primed to make contributions that can win games. After the team lost a majority of its experience to graduation and to the draft, Boynton had to put key pieces in their place that had a bit of a plan behind it.
The way that the 2016-17 team played was mainly behind a talented point guard that could score in every fashion, and another guard that could be the floor general and make the right shots at the right time. With both of those pieces now absent, Boynton is investing in Miami (OH) freshman transfer G Michael Weathers and Cal State Northridge graduate transfer PG Kendall Smith. Weathers is coming off one of the most successful freshman campaigns in the nation at 16.7 points per game. Catch is, due to eligibility rules, Weathers will have to sit out this upcoming season. Smith, who also played a stint at UNLV, was a 4-star recruit coming out of high school. His job will be most likely to be an experienced role player this year that will be a leader for the other guards, similar to a Phil Forte role.
Lastly is the redshirt sophomore, C Yankuba Sima, transferring mid-season from St. John’s. In a recent article published by theScore, the 6-11 sophomore was described as one of the “5 transfers that could be X-factors on their new teams”. In his freshman season, he averaged 2.4 blocks per game, and is exactly the post presence that Oklahoma State needs. After sitting out half of this year and transferring in December, he will be eligible to play sometime in December of this year. Overall, Mike Boynton has put together a nice team that has a lot of future upside. He continues to recruit hard in the high school ranks, offering high profile prospects. Mike certainly has some big shoes to fill, but can make it happen in Stillwater.