On Friday afternoon, the NCAA announced it would be handing down its first punishment to a school tied to the college hoops scandal, giving Oklahoma State a one-year postseason ban for the upcoming season and three years of probation, among numerous other fines and recruiting limitations.
Immediately, Cade Cunningham’s situation became the hottest story in the basketball world, with analysts spending the weekend breaking down whether or not the nation’s No. 1 prospect would back away from his commitment to Oklahoma State and explore his options moving forward.
Today, Rivals recruiting expert Corey Evans wrote in a Twitter Tuesday segment that he expected a mass exodus at Oklahoma State, singling out Cunningham as one of the players with a tough decision to make in the near future.
And yes, he brought up Kentucky as a potential option should the five-star guard back away from the table in Stillwater, singling out the Wildcats, the professional route, and sitting out a year as three options on the table.
“We know by now that OSU will not be allowed to participate in the postseason next season and because of it, we could see an exodus of talent from it, including a few of its top-five 2020 recruiting class deciding not to enroll,” Evans said. “… Mike Boynton is going to do all that he can to keep his roster intact, but rest assured, tampering has already commenced and you’re going to see at least a few leave the program in the coming weeks.
“The next question is the state of Cade Cunningham,” Evans continued. “The five-star picked OSU over Kentucky in the fall and if he does decide to decommit, it wouldn’t be a shock to see UK among his early suitors. However, his options don’t just end with college; the G League made a late run at him. He would also take a hard look at playing professionally overseas, especially in Australia. There is even a thought that he could sit out the year and train with his family in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.”
In an interview with Cats Illustrated insider and Sources Say Podcast co-host David Sisk – and shared by Tipton Edits on Instagram – Rivals recruiting expert Corey Evans said this weekend that Cunningham was set to commit to Kentucky during his official visit for Big Blue Madness.
Instead, his family talked him into holding off on making an abrupt decision.
“Yes, he was as close as you could get to committing during the visit to Kentucky,” Evans told Sisk. “It took his mom and family pulling him off and kind of seeing the whole picture, and not just going off immediate reaction and committing.”
While Evans isn’t shy about shedding light on UK’s prior position with the five-star guard, the recruiting expert told Ben Roberts of the Herald-Leader that he still thinks the two top options for Cunningham right now are a return to OSU and beginning his professional career.
“There are going to be a variety of options, and rightfully so,” Evans said. “He’s the No. 1 player in America. … Maybe I’m alone in this, but — unless some things happen — I don’t see him going to college anywhere else but Oklahoma State. But who knows what happens with his brother on staff. Does someone try to get in there and hire the brother away from Oklahoma State? And, in doing so, bring Cade with him? We’ll see.”
When asked about Kentucky specifically, Evans told the Herald-Leader that while he still favors the professional option or holding firm on his commitment to OSU, UK’s prior relationship with Cunningham and the team’s elite potential is something to monitor down the road.
“It kind of speaks for itself. Their ceiling for success is raised immensely,” Evans told Roberts. “And, as we know, the relationship that Cade and his family developed with Cal and that program and how close he was to committing to Kentucky in the first place — it would align, definitely.”
“This could really force [Calipari’s] hand, for the better,” Evans continued. “You have several guys that are 6-6 or taller. You have a guy like Cade who is so versatile — he could play a heck of a small-ball ‘4,’ if you needed it. It would force Cal’s hand. And I think it would be a hand that Cal would definitely be OK taking.”
Evans reiterated that Cunningham will likely not be in a rush to make a decision on his future. When the time does come for a decision, however, expect it to shake up the basketball world one way or another.