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Oklahoma State Basketball

Cade Cunningham Didn't Look Far for a Point Guard Model

February 21, 2021

Cade Cunningham’s favorite big point guard, other than himself?

“Luca Doncic. Easy,” the Cowboys star freshman says.

That’s become a familiar comparison, too, the 6-8 Cunningham and the 6-7 Doncic, not as much for who those men are now, but in terms of who Cunningham possibly projects to become in the NBA.

Look closely, and you can see aspects perhaps borrowed from Doncic. The step-back dagger shot. The hard drive through the lane, punctuated with a late dish to a teammate. They strut flare and style and a desire to elevate everyone around them.

Besides the size and skill similarities, there’s another obvious note.

“(Luca) also plays for the Mavericks, and me being from Dallas, that was always my team growing up,” Cunningham says.

Down in the Metroplex, Cunningham found plenty of opportunity to examine the big Slovenian closely. And the student has found plenty to study and admire. 

“I feel like we have similar body types,” Cunningham says. “The way he picks defenses apart, that’s something I’ve been studying since he’s been in the league. I definitely love Luca.”

There’s much to love, about Doncic and Cunningham.

There have been few great point guards with their size.

Magic Johnson, considered the game’s greatest point man ever, was an outlier at 6-9. Beyond Magic, any list ranking the NBA’s all-time point guards stops at a height of 6-4, with the exception of Johnson.

Cunningham continues to grow his game in this one season in Stillwater, leading the Cowboys to a 14-7 record overall, 6-6 in the Big 12 heading into Monday night’s clash with No. 15 Texas Tech inside Gallagher-Iba Arena.

The Cowboys beat the Red Raiders in overtime in Lubbock on Jan. 2, a statement win at the time.

Now the Pokes continue to try building an NCAA Tournament portfolio.

Oklahoma State owns six road wins, tied for the ninth-most among NCAA N.E.T. top-100 squads. OSU's 5-4 mark in N.E.T. Quadrant-1 games is tied for the eighth most Q1 victories. Along with the win at Tech, the Cowboys own notable road wins at Wichita State and Marquette, as well as home wins over Kansas and Texas.

ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi has OSU as a No. 8 seed, while CBS Sports' Jerry Palm and BracketMatrix (which averages the nation's bracketology sites) have the Cowboys as a No. 7.

OSU has work to do in improving its stature, with every remaining game coming against ranked squads, although just how many contests remain is uncertain.

After Monday night’s game, the Cowboys play No. 9 Oklahoma twice in the span of 54 hours. Will games at No. 2 Baylor and No. 13 West Virginia be rescheduled, after postponements due to the virus?

The Big 12 Tournament is scheduled to open March 10, so there’s wiggle room to make up lost games. But will that be a priority?

Either way, the opportunities for watching Cunningham in a Cowboys uniform are dwindling.

“He’s special, real special,” said fellow freshman Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe.

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Cade Cunningham Didn't Look Far for a Point Guard Model

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