STILLWATER – Late Friday night, 2021 Oklahoma State hoops prospect Wade Taylor announced his commitment to Texas A&M. Taylor was one of the guard prospects Mike Boynton and Co. were putting quite a bit of focus on. He’s a 6-0, 180-pound point guard out of Lancaster (TX) High School.
I put together a list of eight hoops prospects to keep an eye on back in early August and Taylor was towards the top of that list. Of those eight prospects, six have either committed to other programs or have left the Cowboys out of their top schools lists.
That doesn’t mean that Boynton and Co. haven’t been working on recruiting, but it does mean the pandemic is playing a bigger role that the coaching staff first expected.
There’s been an in-person recruiting ban since late March, for both players being on campus and coaches going out recruiting. Mike Boynton spoke with media prior to the first official practice of the 2020-21 season this past Wednesday and went into detail on the struggles of recruiting.
“Yeah I have,” Boynton said of having to adjust recruiting tactics. “I’m really aggressive recruiting personally, and losing out on the opportunity to be out and meet people and evaluate guys face-to-face has really challenged me in two ways: 1.) on if I was going to be willing to change my approach, and I haven’t convinced myself that that’s good for me yet; the other part of it is not to get impatient and not panic, because there’s a lot of good players certainly around the country, but everywhere. So, you don’t want to get into a situation where you panic and you make a mistake, because it’s one thing to miss out on a good player, right? That doesn’t hurt you as much as people think. What hurts you much more is taking a player who’s not necessarily good enough. Especially if it’s a younger guy and now you’ve got him in your program, not that every kid’s got to be the best, but you don’t want to have scholarships used up on guys that can’t translate to what you’re doing.
“I’ve tried to be really, really patient, and we’ve tried to still do as much as we can virtually, but it’s been hard on me just because I love being involved in that process day-to-day. It’s really helped us put together the classes that we have the last couple of years and it’ll probably reflect that we probably won’t sign a bunch of guys early, if any to be honest and I’m OK with that. I want to make sure that we get the right guys in here at the end of the day.”
Oklahoma State fans have been spoiled with the last two classes Boynton and Co. have brought in. Going back to the 2019 class, it was ranked top-20 in the country and is the current sophomore class for the Cowboys of Avery Anderson III, Chris Harris and Kalib and Keylan Boone. That’s an impressive group, but then they brought in a top-5 ranked 2020 class that included the No. 1 overall prospect in the country in Cade Cunningham. They signed Cunningham, four-star guard Rondel Walker and extremely athletic and versatile wing Montreal Pena in the early signing period last fall.
According to Boynton, they’re not likely to sign any prospects in the Nov. signing period. However, if we look at the prospect the coaching staff signed in the late signing period brings a lot of hope. They signed the No. 1 prospect out of Canada in Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe, four-star guard Donovan Williams, sharpshooter transfers Ferron Flavors Jr. and Bryce Williams and big-man Bernard Kouma.
Also, something to remember is the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility to all winter sports athletes due to the on-going pandemic. So, while guys like Cade Cunningham, who’s projected as the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming 2020-21 NBA Draft, will be leaving, there’s a chance we could see guys like Ferron Flavors Jr. come back for another season. So, the scholarship situation is going to be an interesting one to watch. The spring signing period runs from April 14-May 19, 2021. There’s still plenty of time let on the clock, so there’s no need to panic just yet.