Friday morning came with some unfortunate news for Pokes fans. Oklahoma State basketball had received a postseason ban for a Level 1 violation. The Cowboys also received a 3 scholarship reduction through 2023, and 3 years probation. This is connected to the broader scheme of the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball.
The allegations against Oklahoma State center around former assistant coach Lamont Evans. Evans was fired in late 2017, but allegations against him stem nearly as far back as a year and a half.
Evans supposedly accepted a multitude of bribes from financial advisors to steer his players towards them. These were players trying to make the jump to the league, so the focal point here is at the intersection between the amateur and professional sports worlds.
Oklahoma State immediately appealed, but regardless, where does that leave them now?
The Pokes had brought in one of their best-recruiting classes of all time (10th in the nation), headlined by number 1 overall recruit Cade Cunningham. Cunningham might very well be the top PG recruit of all time, so his next move is pretty intriguing.
Cunningham is essentially faced with 4 options:
- Continue playing at Oklahoma State
In this scenario, his team would not be eligible for the NCAA tournament, which is disappointing because sports are most exciting when the best players are on the biggest stage.
- Go to another school
From a fan perspective, this is ideal. He would still be playing college basketball, but just for a team with a chance to make the tournament. Back in August, Cunningham cut his list of potential schools to 5. At this point, he was already a lock to OKSU (his older brother was hired as an assistant coach). However, one of the other 4 schools could be his next destination should he decide to transfer. Kentucky, Florida, Washington, and North Carolina will be high on his radar.
- Play in the G-League
Similar to Jalen Green, Cunningham would probably receive an offer to play in the G-League of about half a million dollars. This could be a great way to start his professional career early.
- Play Overseas
Don’t forget that he could leave the entire continent for his next season of basketball. Some of last year’s top recruits (RJ Hampton, LaMelo Ball) went overseas and are now looking at very favorable draft selections
Cunningham is going to have a big decision on his hands. Staying at Oklahoma State doesn’t feel like it would be worth it, but he could surprise us. If I were Cunningham, I would choose to transfer to a team I could contend with, but alas, I am merely a bystander, waiting on the edge of my seat to see what he chooses.
Photo: Oklahoma State University