Oklahoma State has positioned itself as the overwhelming favorite to land elite prospect Cade Cunningham, a 6-foot-7 senior-to-be guard/forward from Montverde (Florida) Academy — the No 2-ranked player in the high school basketball recruiting Class of 2020 according to Rivals.com.
OSU head coach Mike Boynton on Tuesday announced the hiring of former SMU player Cannen Cunningham, Cade’s older brother, as full-time Cowboys assistant coach.
This, of course, puts OSU in good shape to land Cade Cunningham, who recently revealed a list of 10 schools: Kansas, Oklahoma State, Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, Florida, Memphis, Texas, Virginia and Washington.
“My recruitment is still completely open,” Cade Cunningham told Rivals.com on Tuesday. “I love my brother forever and that is obviously a big factor but it doesn’t determine my recruitment.
““My brother has been my guy, I mean, he was the one that put the ball in my hands. He has been the guy that pretty much determines everything that I have been doing with my development and where I am now. He is my guy.
“He got hired and he had to take the job,” added Cade, who is originally from Texas. “It was a great opportunity. I wanted for him to take the job but I don’t think that it sways my recruitment or my decision because he knows what is best for me. I want to be with him and he wants to be with me but I am not going to go to a spot that is not best for me and he is not going to put me at a place that is not best for me.”
Cannen Cunningham played at SMU for former KU coach Larry Brown from 2011 to 2015.
He then played one season of pro basketball in Poland. He coached high school in Texas two years before joining the Tulane staff as associate director of video operations in 2018-19.
“I’d like to thank Larry Brown, who I consider the greatest coach of all time. He’s had such a huge impact on me as both on and off the court, as has Mike Dunleavy (Tulane coach fired in March after three seasons), who taught me so many new ways to look at the game of basketball,” Cannen Cunningham said Tuesday in a statement released by OSU. “I have a ton of respect for coach Boynton and what he’s done here in Stillwater, and I’m grateful for this opportunity to do what I love at such a high level.”
There is a chance Cade could wind up the No. 1 player in the Class of 2020. Currently Evan Mobley, a 7-foot center from Rancho Christian High in Temecula, California, is No. 1 in the class.
Here’s Cunningham’s scouting profile on ESPN.com: “Cade is a versatile forward that can play either the 3 or the 4. He is a natural wing that has a distinct ability to score. His toughness and athletic ability allow him to play some power forward also when needed. As his skills continue to improve a move to shooting guard is not beyond the realm of possibility.
“Cade is a solid to good athlete. He gives effort defensively but can run into issues with elite athletes or wings with great size. His tenacity and competitiveness aid him in his efforts right now but if he doesn’t continue to grow it could become a bigger issue moving forward.”
The bottom line, according to ESPN: “Cade is an elite prospect due to his solid size, skill and scoring ability. He has a high ceiling and should continue to be counted among the elite in his class given average progression.”
N’Faly Dante may reclassify
There is still a chance Sunrise Christian Academy senior-to-be N’Faly Dante switches from the recruiting Class of 2020 to 2019 and plays for a college team in 2019-20.
Kansas happens to have a scholarship available, but the country’s No. 9 prospect in the Class of 2020 does not appear to have KU on his mind of late. He has mentioned KU as a possibility in the past.
Dante, 6-11, 230, tells the Des Moines Register his current contenders include Iowa State, Kentucky, Oregon, Michigan State, Tennessee and LSU.
Dante during the summer lives with his host family in Des Moines, Iowa. He told the Register he is currently enrolled in summer classes to help him become academically eligible to play in 2019-20.
“Maybe. I don’t know. I’m not trying to (reclassify), but if I can do it, I might do it,” the MOKAN Elite AAU standout told the Register.
Garcia emerges as top prospect
Dawson Garcia, a 6-10 senior-to-be forward from Prior Lake High in Savage, Minnesota, has been stockpiling college scholarship offers.
KU offered the No. 38-rated player in the recruiting Class of 2020 a scholarship on Monday, joining North Carolina, Baylor, Minnesota, Marquette, Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue, Arizona and Maryland. He’s also heard from Duke, Kentucky and Gonzaga.
“He’s a 6-10 big guy, who is kind of a perimeter based 5. He can play some power forward as well,” writes 247Sports.com’s Brian Snow. “He’s skilled out to the three-point line, and likes to drive hard to his right to the rim. He takes advantage of bigger players who are slower and then also can take advantage of smaller players. He’s definitely a mismatch who needs to get stronger. He needs to learn how to be more assertive, but the potential is sky-high for Dawson Garcia.”
Garcia averaged 27.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per game as a junior at Prior Lake. He recently led USA Basketball to a first-place finish at the 2019 3-on-3 Under 18 tournament in Mongolia.
I can guard 1-through-5 as well as put the ball on the floor, shoot it well,” he told 247sports.com. “I’m going to keep getting stronger. That’ll come this summer. I’ll put in a lot of time in the weight room.”
Taylor back in Venezuela
Former KU guard Tyshawn Taylor flew from Kansas, where he played in Thursday’s Rock Chalk Roundball Classic, to Venezuela on Sunday. He’s signed to play for Guaros de Lara in the LPB Cup playoffs. Taylor, who was added to the de Lara roster late last season as well, wound up MVP of the 2017-18 playoffs.