STILLWATER — College basketball’s transfer portal is not slowing down.
In the past two days, the nation’s leading assist man, the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, and a former Top 40 recruit who has already played at Kentucky and Texas have all announced their intentions of finding a new school. There are more than 1,400 players in the portal.
It’s a fact of life that Oklahoma State hasn’t escaped the many programs succumbing the college hoops epidemic. Three Cowboys have entered the portal this offseason in Donovan Williams, Keylan Boone and Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe. The Cowboys haven’t taken from the portal yet, but it is an inevitability. OSU coach Mike Boynton said after the season that he’d like to add one or two points guards and 3-point shooting (preferably point guards who can shoot the 3).
But as the portal continues to overflow, Boynton said patience is key. Last season OSU added four from the transfer portal: Moussa Cisse, Bryce Thompson, Tyreek Smith and Woody Newton. Thompson committed May 13. Cisse committed after the NBA Draft process in July. Smith committed at the end of April, and Newton committed about this time last year.
“I hate timeframes,” Boynton said. “… When it’s a process-oriented deal, like recruiting is, you gotta do the best you can to be as diligent and thorough as possible. The portal can be tricky. There’s a lot of fish in the ocean. You can get anything — seaweed, you can get a nice bass. It may not be your deal. It may not fit what you have. We got Moussa in July last year. We got BT, I think, in May. Sometimes patience is a little more apt and necessary than just trying to fill with the first guy you see.”
Another variable in this is Oklahoma State’s scholarship reductions as part of the sanctions that also provided OSU with a postseason ban last season. OSU is set to lose three scholarships over the next three seasons.
With the three in the portal, OSU has three scholarships to give to get up to the NCAA-allowed 13. That number falls to two if Isaac Likekele elects to return for a super senior season. With players transferring out, that allows OSU to more freely eat one of reductions should Boynton and Co. choose to.
“I don’t think about the scholarships as much, especially now considering we have so much flexibility, as much as just trying to find the right next piece,” Boynton said. “I feel like we’re in a good spot.”
The Cowboys are also in a unique spot in that they need perimeter players, not big men.
There are only so many humans walking this planet at 6-foot-7 or taller. OSU has five of them on its roster. Frontcourt depth had been an issue in Stillwater for a long while, but now OSU has Cisse, Smith and Kalib Boone capable of clogging the paint. While myriad schools will chase after size this offseason, the Cowboys have the luxury of pursuing a bigger pool of candidates who play the perimeter.
With as fast as everything moves nowadays, it can be easy to say that OSU should work quicker in the transfer market, but for Boynton, it’s about finding the right fit over a quick fix.
“It’s very unusual,” Boynton said. “We don’t really need more bigs. They’re hard to find, so I’m glad I’m in that position. It gives me an opportunity to really be deliberate and intentional about the type of perimeter players we do need.”
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