In Mike Boynton’s mind, recruiting never stops.
Even after the Oklahoma State men’s basketball coach signed his sixth addition to the class of 2020, which brings the Cowboys to the max of 13 scholarship bodies, Boynton isn’t done.
The Cowboys’ coach, who is entering his fourth year at the helm, hinted Thursday during an online video teleconference that he’s always looking to improve his team.
“I’m still recruiting,” Boynton said. “I’m always recruiting and I’m always recruiting for this class first. I’m recruiting for next year’s class, too, but I’m always recruiting for this class. If we got another commitment today and you asked me that question tomorrow, I would tell you the same thing. When school starts and we have to be at 13, we will not have 14 guys on scholarship.”
Boynton and his staff added what many believed to be the final piece of this year’s recruiting class Monday night when Donovan Williams – a four-star guard out of Lincoln, Nebraska, chose the Cowboys over Kansas State and Texas.
Williams signed his letter of intent Wednesday, along with two other prospects, bringing this year’s class to six players. Five of those will be freshmen, while Ferron Flavors Jr. will be a graduate transfer from Cal Baptist.
The Cowboys will have those six newcomers, plus two returning juniors and five returning sophomores.
Yet, Boynton might not be done on the recruiting trail, despite bringing in one of the top five or 10 classes in the country. He’d have to manage his 13 scholarships between more than 13 players, but he said he wouldn’t break any rules when the 2020-21 school year began.
“I keep hearing this scholarships are full message and I don’t know where that’s coming from,” Boynton said. “I guess I should say this – I understand how that works, but it can’t work that way for me. I have to follow the rules. The rules say before school starts, you can only have 13 guys on scholarship, so what I always say is when school starts, we won’t have more than 13 guys on scholarship."
Although he hinted at possibly adding more newcomers to his team late in the teleconference, Boynton talked plenty about his talented recruiting class throughout the nearly hour-long meeting with the media.
His current class is ranked No. 4 in the country by Rivals.com, No. 8 by ESPN and No. 9 by 247Sports.com. Regardless of the publication, they all agreed the Cowboys are bringing in the best recruiting class in the Big 12 Conference and one of the best in the nation.
That class includes Cade Cunningham (five-star recruit, ranked No. 1 out of Montverde, Florida), plus four-star prospects Rondel Walker (Putnam City West High), Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe (Mono, Ontario, Canada) and Williams. Additionally, the class includes three-star recruit Montreal Pena (Arlington, Texas) and Flavors.
“With recruiting, we’re really excited about where we are today,” Boynton said. “We feel like it’s a class we put a lot of time, effort, energy and focus into terms of transitioning to the next phase. The next phase for us is to be really competitive in the Big 12, and then put ourselves in position to carry that on into being competitive from a national standpoint, which is the ultimate goal for us. We’re excited.
“The class is versatile, and brings great length, athleticism and intelligence. We’ve got really good kids – for the most part – really good students, which I’m even more excited about. We don’t have a whole lot of at-risk people coming into the university. In fact, I think four of our guys have already been admitted into school, and that was without their last final grades from this year being sent, just because they were so far advanced academically.”
Williams is the most recent addition to the star-studded OSU class. The 6-foot-5, 190-pound guard averaged 23.1 points and 8.1 rebounds per game during a shortened, 14-game season this year in which he was returning from an ACL injury. He had originally committed to Nebraska, but announced his de-commitment in December.
“This fall, I’ll be taking my talents to Oklahoma State University,” Williams said Monday in a live teleconference with Sports Illustrated. “Go Cowboys.”
Williams expanded about why he chose the Cowboys.
“I get to play with the best player in the country, for one, in Cade Cunningham,” Williams said. “We’re close friends. We talk a lot, so I feel like that could be a big positive in this whole thing for me. Also, the relationship I have with Coach Boynton. He’s a great guy and he’s been down here numerous times. He just seems like a very considerate, truthful, honest guy. I trust giving him my abilities and my talents and having him work with it and make me a pro.”
Williams said his relationship with Cunningham was a reason why he chose OSU. He was asked about how they could be a dynamic 1-2 guard combo next year in Stillwater.
“If I step in and do what I have to do and make shots, it will make things that much easier on his part,” Williams said. “He’s a facilitator. He’s a creator. He can creates openings for him teammates, and I’m going to have to knock down shots and make plays just like him.”
The chance to play with Cunningham, who is projected to be a one-and-done player and a possible No. 1 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, was one recruiting tool Boynton didn’t have to use himself once Cunningham committed in November.
Boynton talked about that during his teleconference, and how that helped attract most of the class to Stillwater.
“Cade has been very integral part of the process in recruiting most of the class,” Boynton said. “A lot of the guys wanted to talk to him, including Ferron, who is a grad transfer, about how they would fit together. That’s the draw of a guy who people gravitate to because of his unselfishness. He’s a winner and a really unselfish player. Obviously, they know playing with him will bring opportunities to be seen by people at the highest level of basketball. He’s been a big part of our recruiting process and he’ll continue to be.”