What happens when a one-and-done college basketball player is committed to a team that is banned from participating in the postseason? Well we’re about to find out.
That’s exactly the position Cade Cunningham finds himself in as the NCAA announced on Friday that Oklahoma State would face a one-year ban on the postseason (2020-2021 season), along with scholarship restrictions and limits on official visits.
Only one of those really affects Cunningham but it does so in a big way. Rated at the top prep player in the country, Cunningham is widely speculated to be the top overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Now he’s faced with the decision of whether he wants his one season of college basketball to be meaningless or not.
It only makes sense that you’d want to make a run at the NCAA Tournament while you have the opportunity, you also can’t downplay the loyalty of a commitment. Cunningham (6-6/215) signed to play for Mike Boynton and Oklahoma State last November.
Cunningham chose OSU over a final list that included the likes of Duke, Kansas, Memphis, Virginia, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Washington. The prep star credited Boynton for his decision to play for the Cowboys. It also probably didn’t hurt that his brother, Cannen Cunningham, was hired earlier in the year as an OSU assistant coach.
However, that was then and this is now as the sins of former Cowboy assistant Lamont Evans have come home to roost in Stillwater.
Evans was arrested in conjunction with the FBI’s investigation into colleges basketball. As a result, he was fired with cause, by Oklahoma State in 2017. Now with the NCAA’s Friday announcement on sanctions it becomes clear that the greatest blow Evans laid upon the OSU program could very well be in what Cade Cunningham decides to do.
With options on the table ranging from the NCAA Transfer Portal to the NBA/G-League development program Cunningham could move in a number of directions should he decide to look elsewhere for the next phase of his basketball career.
Of course Oklahoma State coaches and fans are hoping an appeal and loyalty to the commitments made win the day. Time may not be on their side though as Cunningham most likely needs to start moving in one direction or another by August.
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