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Rivals’ Corey Evans gives a full rundown of what’s next for Cade Cunningham

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 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.

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

Article written by Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres is covering football and basketball for KSR this season after four years at Fox Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Aaron_Torres, Facebook or e-mail at [email protected] He is also the author of the only book written on the Calipari era, “One and Fun: A Behind the Scenes Look at John Calipari and the 2010 Kentucky Wildcats.”

22 Comments for Rivals’ Corey Evans gives a full rundown of what’s next for Cade Cunningham

  1. BigBluSoTru
    5:07 pm June 11, 2020 Permalink

    Torres articles are always UK is the pick lol . He eats and shits more bluberries than me.And i listen to the UK marching band as my favorite music cd.

  2. Looother
    5:11 pm June 11, 2020 Permalink

    Thanks for another informative post, Aaron…

  3. Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert
    6:05 pm June 11, 2020 Permalink

    That family has had their hand out since day one. So would that mean we are hiring the brother or paying the kid and his family? He isn’t coming here for free. Nike probably footing the bill.

  4. WKY Cat
    6:51 pm June 11, 2020 Permalink


  5. Aar
    7:26 pm June 11, 2020 Permalink

    If we aren’t his first choice, I don’t particularly want him.

    If Cal pursues, I hope Sandy Bell did her best work.

    • Cokely53
      8:43 pm June 11, 2020 Permalink

      Who cares if we weren’t his first choice. You’re going to turn down a kid who would potentially elevate the team to the title favorites because he chose to play for his brother first? Selfish much? If he came here he would still want to be here. The sandy bell part I do agree with though. Still think he’s G league bound.

    • Bruce Dickinson
      9:42 pm June 11, 2020 Permalink

      Kentucky wasn’t Terrence Jones’s first pick and that worked out pretty well.

    • Aar
      5:48 am June 12, 2020 Permalink

      How quickly did Terrence Jones change his mind? Maybe a more recent example would be more relevant.

      I don’t see this addition elevating this team. Askew, Boston & Clark are building great chemistry and they seem to be ready for Mintz’s mentorship. The best fit I see for Cunningham is if Sarr’s waiver doesn’t happen (his size would improve the small ball game on both ends).

      The biggest thing though is his mindset. In reading the above, he is/was very motivated to play AT OSU for his brother and with friends that he chose to play with. I think he would do great to keep that all together and have the best regular season possible. Displacing him from that could see his motivation drop to “hired gun” levels in which his play may not be its greatest and any injury could be demotivating.

      My big blue goggles think that BBN and Cal can energize and motivate any player. Motivation can be like romance – right place, right time and all that create lightning in a bottle. I just think that happened at OSU for him and with that spark gone, he might be better motivated by G League money than by all of us cheering him on from home in 1/3rd full Rupp.

      I also think that happens for most kids when they fully commit to a school – as opposed to just getting swept up by a moment and “picking up the wrong cap” as Terrence Jones claimed hours after his press conference.

    • Cletis75
      7:21 am June 12, 2020 Permalink

      Don’t see the top recruit in the class elevating this team any? Seriously?
      Are you married? Were you her first choice, or were there boyfriends before you?
      You guys acting like a young man having loyalty to his family is a bad thing! No wonder the world seems so backwards right now.

    • Aar
      10:01 am June 12, 2020 Permalink

      Cletus, which was the last “top recruit” that elevated his team or even played an entire freshman season?

      Williamson was not a number 1 recruit

    • Cletis75
      11:58 am June 12, 2020 Permalink

      All of ours except Skal elevated our teams.Wall, Davis, and Noel. Pretty much all number 1s elevated their teams except Skal. Name some that didn’t. Josh Selby was number 1 in rivals, but Harrison Barnes was number 1 in the other services i believe.

    • Aar
      12:56 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

      Wiseman, Porter, Fultz, Simmons, Edwards, might even be able to put Wiggins on that list.

      The point is that being number 1 on some list does not instantly make them a “gotta have” talent, especially if they are committed elsewhere, their heart is elsewhere and they would be forced into an already good chemistry. None of us has line of sight into any of that beyond the names on the lists

      Wall, Davis, MKG, KAT, Noel & Labissiere all picked UK as their first choice (well, Wall picked Coach Cal probably before UK). I can’t think of any top recruits who changed their commitments very late in the process that worked out exceptionally well.

    • Cletis75
      8:26 am June 13, 2020 Permalink

      Fultz, Simmons , and Edwards weren’t Number 1 overall recruits in their classes. Every player you named however, made their teams better. Therefore they elevated their team. If you make something better, you elevate it. Maybe you are just having trouble putting your argument and thoughts into words. Your argument is very confusing.

  6. friendsofcoal
    7:38 pm June 11, 2020 Permalink

    Cal would never hire his brother just to get him. He’ll go the G League Route.

    • UKinIN
      8:20 am June 12, 2020 Permalink

      I agree but that wouldn’t help his brother. He may play at another school, not UK, to get his brother a job. (Which should be against NCAA rules.)

  7. Alex90
    11:26 pm June 11, 2020 Permalink

    This is like the 5th story on here with same info. All signs are pointing to him going to the G league. KSR is trying to build this up for clicks but nothing here

  8. UKfanman01
    5:03 am June 12, 2020 Permalink

    I dont want this kid. It would be a smack in the face of Mintz and the rest of the amazing guards who were 100% sold on our program. Cade can kick rocks

    • Cletis75
      7:25 am June 12, 2020 Permalink

      Pretty sure that Mintz was told we compete for PT here. No one is immune from that, not here anyway.

  9. ekywildcat
    8:33 am June 12, 2020 Permalink

    Really wanted Cade first time around. Now, not so much.

  10. CJKAssassin123
    11:33 am June 12, 2020 Permalink

    Watch Penny is going to hire Cade’s Brother and then Cade is going to join him at Memphis.

  11. Cokely53
    1:10 pm June 12, 2020 Permalink

    All of you saying you don’t want Cunningham now are all the same people who keep saying Cal has lost his touch in recruiting. And quit using chemistry as an example. We have 1 player who played any minutes on the team last year. We have 0 built chemistry. Askew, Boston, and Clarke playing some pick up games together doesn’t mean jack squat. If Cunningham chooses to be here, he will be 100% committed. He isn’t forced to leave OSU, he could’ve chosen the G league, he would be choosing to come here out of his own fruition. Do you people even hear yourself speak? It would be asinine to turn down an excellent player for pride. Do you want to win or not?