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Oklahoma State Basketball

Keller and the Young Pup Pokes Showing They are Ready for the Big 12 Now

February 22, 2024
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STILLWATER – It was just last night that Oklahoma State won their first road game of the season, stacked two wins together for the first time in Big 12 play. Cowboys head coach Mike Boynton said in the postgame last night after the 80-76 win over Cincinnati that his team of young Cowboys mixed with a couple of seniors had down a good job of ignoring the noise. That noise is the talk about the program and Boynton’s future, which like in most of his season’s is looking brighter post Valentine’s Day.

The Voice of the Cowboys Dave Hunziker turned me on to this statistic and I went in and took it further. Including last night’s win over the Bearcats and the Saturday win over BYU, Boynton’s teams in his seven seasons are 27-19 in Big 12 play, including postseason Big 12 tournaments, after Valentine’s Day. On or before the holiday for lovers, Boynton’s record is not so loveable in conference at 22-51.

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Boynton’s team is developing.

What does that say? To me it says that Boynton does develop young talent and I’m seeing it in this team. It also tells me that maybe the right line-up isn’t there for the start of Big 12 play, but the right guys are on the court during the stretch of the season. 

I said my opinion, which is not as educated as a coach but is experienced, was that all along this season Bryce Thompson’s play was stunting the growth of some of the talented freshmen on this team. Thompson was playing like he was the main figure. That may be fair, it may not be. However, these young players like “big man” Brandon Garrison, recently emerging Jamyron Keller, sixth man Eric Dailey Jr., and sophomore Quion Williams have molded well with junior point guard Javon Small and senior leader John-Michael Wright.  

“I felt best for those kids who went to Carbondale (Southern Illinois) in early December and couldn’t figure it out, and then went through this league several times on the road – and had good moments, flashes – but hadn’t been able to figure it out, and then were told that they weren’t good enough to do it. Ever,” Boynton said when asked what he thought after his team stacked the BYU and Cincinnati wins. “The best evidence to being able to do something is to have done it before, and now we’ve been able to win a game on the road, and that hopefully gives them confidence.”

Boynton said he felt good his team had a chance to celebrate, a little elation is good for everybody.

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Small, a junior, and John-Michael Wright, a senior are leading the young Pokes.

“We’ve got a couple left. More importantly, winning two games in a row in this conference and seeing the way we’ve had success consistently. One of the things we talked about Monday when we got together was – in our losses, we’re averaging 10 assists per game on the year, and in our wins we’re averaging almost 20. Young guys don’t always understand how to just accept that being the way you win, because they’ve always just been able to do it on their own. This particular team needs each other, and seeing them continue to buy into that is what’s most gratifying.”

I love that Boynton told his team to enjoy it but when they hit the court back home on Thursday for practice for Saturday’s Bedlam it was over, move on.

The rapidly emerging standout and a tough, young player in Jamyron Keller gets it. He was asked the difference in this team now as they win the crucial moments at the end of a game.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Keller is not only talented, but a tough-mineded player.

“We stayed together,” Keller said. He had 22 points, five rebounds, and two assists vs. BYU and then 15 points, three rebounds, and two assists vs. Cincinnati. “When they were making their runs, we didn't fold. We didn't point the finger at all. We just stayed together and made a push back.”

Big man freshman Brandon Garrison is literally blooming with his game in front of our eyes. He is doing it going against grown men, usually several big men on the other side. 

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Garrison finding a way to score inside.

“It’s a challenge. Different types of bigs, you’ve got to guard them all in certain ways,” Garrison explained. “I feel like I’ve done a good job taking on the challenge.”

I will swear that he’s done a good job. 

Oklahoma State fans there is plenty of good to like and reasons to feel good about Bedlam in Stillwater on Saturday.

Discussion from...

Keller and the Young Pup Pokes Showing They are Ready for the Big 12 Now

1,848 Views | 5 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by RodeoPoke
Orangeheart72
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Agree Robert. I think this Bedlam should be fun, it would be great to knock off the Sooners once again. And nothing calls off the coaching removal complaints like a Bedlam win.
RodeoPoke
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winning two straight "winnable" home games against these unranked opponents could do wonders for this season. UCF comes to GIA after the Sooners.

first things first.... Go Pokes
Orangeheart72
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Really good offensive game.....wishing Garrison wasn't on bench with 4th foul. Dailey playing very well though. He's about a perfect guy for small forward if we had a big man available. Pokes up by 4.
backphil
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Losing Bedlam today was a heartbreak, but I don't know of any team who wants to play the Cowboys in the Big 12 Tourney.
Class 1980
RodeoPoke
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backphil said:

Losing Bedlam today was a heartbreak, but I don't know of any team who wants to play the Cowboys in the Big 12 Tourney.
what are the other choices? Of course, EVERYBODY would prefer to play the Pokes, we're in dead freaking last.

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