Since the FBI first began its investigation into college basketball in 2017, the assumption always was, that the biggest shockwaves would come from Kansas, Louisville or Arizona. As it turns out, the most seismic thing that may come out of this is what has already happened at Oklahoma State.
That’s because, as has been well-reported by now, on Friday, the NCAA hit Oklahoma State with surprising sanctions, sanctions that included a one-year ban from the NCAA Tournament. The reason that is especially important for this upcoming season is that the Cowboys have the No. 1 high school player in America, Cade Cunningham, signed and set to enroll in just a few weeks. Now, with the postseason ban on the table, it means that Cunningham could consider a few different options, ranging from staying at Oklahoma State, pursuing a pro career or potentially transferring to another school. Obviously, with Kentucky finishing in second place in his initial recruitment, it doesn’t seem far-fetched that the Wildcats could be in the mix as well.
So what went down last week and what’s the latest on Cunningham’s future? There is no one better person (besides Cunningham) to ask than Rivals.com recruiting analyst Corey Evans. Evans is close with Cunningham and spoke to him in the immediate aftermath of everything last week.
Evans joined KSR’s Aaron Torres Podcast to discuss it all. You can download here, or listen to the full episode below, but it really does start with the shock of everything that unfolded late last week.
“Shellshock,” Evans said when asked to describe everyone’s reaction around Oklahoma State last week. “I think people need to put themselves into Cade Cunningham’s shoes. For eight months now you’ve been gearing up for ‘I’m going to enroll at Oklahoma State. I’m going to be a difference-maker. I’m going to lead them back to the NCAA Tournament. I’m going to play for my brother. I’m going to play for Mike Boynton, the first high major coach to offer me. I’m going to play with my best friends. I’m going to play with a class that I helped put together.’ And literally in an instant all those future plans, partially at least, are taken away.”
Now, with the news about a week old, the question is what comes next. As Evans pointed out multiple times throughout the interview, Cunningham holds all the leverage in this particular situation and can wait as long as he wants to make a final decision. The one thing that is not up for debate however, is that any number of options are on the table. And just about everyone, from other colleges to professional leagues are pursuing him.
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On today's Aaron Torres Pod, recruiting guru Corey Evans joins the show to discuss what's next for Cade Cunningham. Oklahoma State? Transfer? Pro options. All on the table . . For details on what's next for Cunningham and when a decision could come, click on the link in the bio…. NOW
Wait, wait, let’s take that a step further.
Not only are they pursuing Cunningham, but his brother as well.
“Just my digging, and I’m not sure how credible it is,” Evans began. “But they [the Cunningham family] is wide open with things. Whether it is remaining at Oklahoma State. Whether it’s going elsewhere. His brother Cannen Cunningham, does he try to stay on staff at Oklahoma State? Does someone else try to hire him away, which I have been told that a few programs might be going down that route – trying to hire Cannen away and bring Cade with him.”
Still, as wide open as the family is, Evans did admit that this all will likely come down to an “Oklahoma State vs. a professional path” option for Cunningham.
Still, he also readily admitted that if Cunningham did choose to play college basketball next year somewhere other than Oklahoma State, Kentucky is probably the most realistic option.
“Assuming that he does, or banking on him re-opening things, you’d have to assume that Kentucky is going to be involved. That’s just personal opinion. With Cal being Cal, they’re going to recruit the best of the best, regardless of what his roster looks like. And as you say it, those crystal ball picks wrong. He was as close to a committed Kentucky prospect as you can get. And it took him to kind of wait things out and let things settle before he realized what he ultimately wanted, which was Oklahoma State above all else. But with that relationship already built, Kentucky will be one of the few that will be hard to beat.”
So, what will Cunningham decide? Only time will tell. But this will be a topic to monitor throughout the off-season.
Also, beyond their conversation about Cunningham, Torres and Evans also spoke about a number of other big topics in the recruiting world. They discussed the future of Jonathan Kuminga and the one “front runner” that stands out, and also why Moussa Cisse’s recruitment may be more wide open than previously expected.
To listen to the full episode, click here or download below