The Men’s Basketball program at Oklahoma State was hit with a Level I violation on Friday that resulted in a ban from the 2020-21 postseason. Why does this matter on a Kentucky fan website? Because the nation’s top incoming freshman, Cade Cunningham, who was once considered a Wildcat lean, can no longer compete in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
Cunningham is now expected to explore other options, but whether or not he’ll consider John Calipari and Kentucky again is unknown at this time. He has not said one way or another quite yet. However, UK is suspected to be “front and center” for Cunningham, according to CBS Sports‘ Gary Parrish.
“His brother is on staff, that probably matters, some,” Parrish said regarding Cunningham remaining at Oklahoma State, “but I promise you, every school that was in there before he signed with Oklahoma State, they’ll be back in there right now. Kentucky probably front and center.”
Cunningham was once considering North Carolina, Florida, Washington, and the G League along with UK before he landed at OSU. He was widely recognized as the top overall recruit in the class of 2020 and is seen as the most likely candidate for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Cowboys head coach Mike Boynton has already come out and publicly addressed the situation, stating that he will support Cunningham’s decision “100 percent”.
“I’ll tell you what I told him — I didn’t spend four years recruiting him and telling him how much I care about him to now abandon what’s important,” Boynton said on a conference call with reporters, according to 247 Sports. “We’re gonna have conversations over the next few days, probably weeks, and we’re gonna try to look at all the options, whatever they are. G-League, overseas, another university, stay at Oklahoma State. At the end of the day, whatever his family and he decide is best for his future, I’m gonna get right in tow with that and I’m going to support him 100 percent.”
Kentucky hauled in the nation’s top recruiting class for 2020, highlighted by BJ Boston (No. 4) and Terrence Clarke (No. 7). While it’s still unlikely, finding a way to move Cunningham to Lexington would put the ‘Cats over the top, especially if Olivier Sarr earns immediate eligibility.
Oklahoma State will appeal the NCAA’s ruling.