OK State lands first 5-star prospect since Smart

Cade Cunningham, the No. 2 prospect in the 2020 class and the top available player in the country, according to ESPN’s rankings, announced his commitment to Oklahoma State on Tuesday night.

“To be honest, I was this close to picking a different school, but blood is always thicker than water. Go Pokes,” Cunningham said in his announcement posted to Instagram.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B4gMIi1H008/

Cunningham chose the Cowboys after taking official visits to North Carolina, Florida, Kentucky and Washington, in addition to Oklahoma State. Cowboys coach Mike Boynton hired Cunningham’s brother, Cannen, back in June and Oklahoma State established itself as the clear favorite from that point. Kentucky made a strong push following Cunningham’s visit to Lexington in early October, but Oklahoma State held off the Wildcats to land his commitment.

“When my brother took a job at Oklahoma State, most people assumed my decision had been made for me,” Cunningham said in his announcement video. “But my family encouraged me to explore my options and make my own decision, based on what I feel is best for me.”

A 6-foot-7 point guard from Texas who attends Montverde Academy (Florida), Cunningham is the projected No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft. He averaged 23.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.7 assists on the Nike EYBL circuit last spring and summer for the Texas Titans grassroots program. He also won a gold medal with the USA Basketball U19 National Team, averaging 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists.

This is a monumental commitment for Boynton and the Cowboys, the program’s first five-star prospect since Marcus Smart in 2012 and the highest-ranked pledge for Oklahoma State since the ESPN recruiting database began in 2007.

Boynton is hoping Cunningham is the centerpiece to an elite recruiting class, as the elite guard joins top-50 point guard Rondel Walker in the Cowboys’ 2020 class. Oklahoma State also has five-star guard Bryce Thompson visiting Stillwater on Wednesday unofficially, and hosted top-50 power forward J.T. Thor for an official visit in early September.

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