#68 Oklahoma State Men's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview


Oklahoma State Cowboys


2017-2018 Overall Rank: #68

Conference Rank: #9 Big 12 Oklahoma State Logo

Oklahoma State Team Page


The expectations were pretty low for Oklahoma State heading into the 2016-2017 campaign. However, the Cowboys played well under first year head coach Brad Underwood and reached the NCAA Tournament. Now Coach Underwood is off to Illinois, while Oklahoma State looks to rebuild under new head man Mike Boynton. Coach Boynton spent the last four years as an assistant under Underwood at Stephen F. Austin and Oklahoma State. He has no head coaching experience, but at least it should be a smooth transition following multiple coaching changes in just a couple of years.
2016-17 Record: 20-13, 9-9
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Mike Boynton Jr.
Coach Record: 0-0 at Oklahoma State, 0-0 overall
Who’s Out:
The transition on the sidelines should go smoothly, but that may not be the case on the court. Jawun Evans is gone after a superb sophomore season in which he averaged a team high 19.2 points, 6.4 assists and 1.8 steals. Evans, who was selected 39th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, was a great floor leader who basically carried this team to the NCAA Tournament. That loss stings, but fellow starters Phil Forte III and Leyton Hammonds have run out of eligibility. Forte was the team’s most prolific shooter, making 85 three-pointers at a 41.7 percent clip. Throughout his collegiate career, Forte has been one of the best pure shooters in the Big 12. Hammonds, a 6-8 forward, averaged 8.1 points and 4.9 rebounds in a somewhat disappointing senior season. He saw his numbers dip, but was still a productive big man who could stretch the defense. Also leaving is Tyler Underwood, who is following his father to Illinois. He saw limited action as a redshirt freshman last season.
Who’s In:
A couple transfers will help bolster the roster right away. Kendall Smith comes from Cal State Northridge as a graduate transfer. With the Matadors last season he averaged 16.7 points, 4.8 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.3 steals. The competition is going to get tougher in the Big 12, but he will compete for the starting point guard job. And if he loses that competition, he has the size and shooting ability to play off the ball and provide OSU with a secondary ballhandler. Either way, Smith will be heavily involved in the backcourt rotation. Yankuba Sima will be eligible after the first semester concludes. He spent a season and a half at St. John’s where the 6-11 center proved to be a superb shot blocker and a strong rebounder. This team needs options in the frontcourt and Sima will provide a nice boost when eligible. Zack Dawson is the lone incoming freshman. The 6-3 point guard has a bright future, but will likely spend his freshman campaign coming off the bench.
Who to Watch:
Until Sima is eligible, Oklahoma State could play small around 6-9 senior forward Mitchell Solomon. He was a part-time starter last season and averaged 5.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. He will need to continue to improve his rebounding if OSU is going to successfully play small ball. Sophomore Cameron McGriff is an option as well after another year in the weight room. He averaged 3.8 points and 3.1 rebounds as a freshman. The Cowboys can play small since they have a lot of big wings. Jeffrey Carroll, who stands 6-6 and weighs in at 220 pounds, led the team in rebounding last season with 6.6 per game and added 17.5 points. He will be the team’s go-to scorer and will certainly do his part on the glass as well. Carroll shot an amazing 53.7 percent from the floor, including 44.4 percent from beyond the arc. Davon Dillard is 6-5 and 215 pounds. He is not nearly as productive in the scoring department as Carroll, but Dillard did have a promising sophomore season. Lindy Waters III is a big 6-6 guard too. He is more of a shooting guard than a wing, but he does add size to the perimeter and can consistently knock down shots.
Final Projection:
Coach Boynton will have quite a few different ways he can run this lineup. Brandon Averette did not garner much attention coming out of high school, but the sophomore point guard played well in limited action last season. He can run the point and free up Smith to step into the shooting guard role. That would likely leave Solomon as the only forward on the floor, but Oklahoma State has no problem playing fast and small. As long as Carroll and the other big guards can be effective on the glass and the frontcourt can block a few shots, OSU will be in decent shape. However, without Evans, Forte and Hammonds, there are too many holes to fill for this group to get back to the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Brandon Averette, Sophomore, Guard, 5.2 points per game
Kendall Smith, Senior, Guard, 16.7 points per game (at CSUN)
Davon Dillard, Junior, Guard, 5.7 points per game
Jeffrey Carroll, Senior, Guard, 17.5 points per game
Mitchell Solomon, Senior, Forward, 5.5 points per game
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 85.7 (5th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 78.5 (306, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.7 (61, 5)
Field-Goal Defense: 47.1 (321, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.9 (52, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.2 (14, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 78.9 (4, 1)
Rebound Margin: 4.0 (58, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.7 (93, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.1 (180, 7)
Madness 2017 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#106 Zack Dawson