Cade Cunningham, one of the top rising freshmen in the country and a candidate to be the No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, will re-evaluate his options after his school — Oklahoma State — got hit with a one-year ban from the NCAA postseason, according to OSU’s head coach.
Mike Boynton told ESPN’s Jeff Borzello that he and Cunningham would have “conversations” about what’s best for the 6-foot-6 guard prospect, who is expected to be a one-and-done player at the collegiate level.
“We’re going to try to look at all the options, whatever they are – G-League, overseas, transfer to another school, stay at Oklahoma State,” Boynton told Borzello. “Whatever he decides is best for his future, I’m going to support 100 percent.”
Cunningham — a smooth floor general who can both shoot and pass with great size from the point-guard position — committed to Oklahoma State in November. Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who was the last five-star prospect at Oklahoma State before Cunningham, knows Cunningham and told MassLive the 18-year-old chose the school in part because it wasn’t a traditional blue-blood powerhouse.
“He has the same mentality I did when I decided to go OK State,” Smart said. “He could have went to Kentucky, he could have went to probably Duke, he could have went to these big schools, but he didn’t want to play with the best. He wanted to play against them, like I did.”
Cunningham agreed with that assessment when MassLive asked him about it at the 2020 Hoophall Classic.
“Like Marcus said, it’s not a blue blood, but playing against them, I think that brings a different swag to your game and a little more confidence to it,” Cunningham said. “It played a major role in my decision. I think the Big 12 is one of the best conferences, every game is going to be a battle. So playing in that conference I think will help me in the long run a ton because there will be a lot of close games and there’s a lot of great defensive schools in that conference.”
If Cunningham doesn’t want to stay in college, however, he might be able to make a good amount of money in the G-League. According to Jeff Goodman of Stadium, the G-League targeted Cunningham for their new team of elite prospects and offered him a very respectable amount of money even though Cunningham had little interest at the time. But Jalen Green’s income next year should top seven figures between salary and endorsements, which is a sizable payday, and Green’s presence lends the team legitimacy it didn’t have in November.
Oklahoma State — which hired Cunningham’s older brother Cannen before Cade committed — is appealing the NCAA’s ruling. Lamont Evans, then an assistant coach, pleaded guilty to accepting bribes. He was fired in 2017.
“The NCAA … agreed that OSU did not benefit in recruiting, commit a recruiting violation, did not pay an ineligible player and did not display a lack of institutional control,” OSU wrote in a statement. “As the report documents, OSU cooperated throughout the process, which lasted two years.
“The NCAA appears to have made an arbitrary decision in the sanctions applied to the institution for the egregious actions committed by a former coach that did not result in any benefit for the University.”
Credit: Source link