Oklahoma State made a splash on Tuesday afternoon as the Cowboys hired Cannen Cunningham as an assistant coach.
While Cunningham is an up-and-coming young coach who spent last season at Tulane as part of Mike Dunleavy’s staff, his hiring to Oklahoma State is significant because he’s the older brother of five-star Class of 2020 prospect Cade Cunningham.
Cade has spent the spring dominating the Nike EYBL and rising in the national rankings as he’s firmly in the discussion as the No. 1 player in his class after putting up ridiculously efficient numbers across the board. In speaking with NBC Sports at the Pangos All-American Camp earlier this month, Cade noted how much his brother aided in his overall development and improvement. Clearly, the brothers are close when it comes to basketball.
Oklahoma State was already viewed as a heavy participant in Cunningham’s national recruitment. Now that head coach Mike Boynton has made the move to hire Cunningham to a full-time assistant spot, Cannen just gives the Cowboys an additional recruiting advantage when it comes to landing Cade.
Cade Cunningham cut his list to 10 schools earlier this summer as Duke, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Texas, Virginia and Washington are still involved. It’ll be interesting to see where Cade decides to take official visits and how many of these schools remain in the picture in light of Cannen’s hiring.
Kansas added a key late piece to its 2019 recruiting class on Wednesday as four-star wing Jalen Wilson committed to the Jayhawks.
Previously a Michigan pledge under former head coach John Beilein, Wilson opened things up and took official visits to Kansas and North Carolina. The 6-foot-8 Wilson is the No. 47 overall prospect in the Rivals.com national 2019 rankings as he’s the fourth commitment for the Jayhawks in the class. He joins four-stars wing Tristan Enaruna and four-star guards Christian Braun and Isaac McBride.
Although Kansas didn’t land the five-star, All-American type of prospect that they’ve become used to landing under head coach Bill Self, this four-man class still provides talent, athleticism, depth and a top-15 group. Wilson’s late pledge gives the Jayhawks a competitive wing for minutes along with Enaruna and sophomore Ochai Agbaji.
Kansas returns some veterans from the NBA draft process as they should once again be competitive in the Big 12 and national landscape with the return of point guard Devon Dotson and center Udoka Azubuike. If any of these four freshmen can provide consistent minutes it would be a huge boost to the Jayhawks.
Iowa State freshman forward and NBA Draft hopeful Talen Horton-Tucker pled guilty to charges of misdemeanor theft according to Travis Hines.
A first-round hopeful, the 18-year-old Horton-Tucker was charged with theft in the fifth degree. Horton-Tucker pled guilty, per court records and the Ames Police. The incident occured in February at a Walmart in Ames, as surveillance footage of the store’s self-checkout was reviewed before the charges on Horton-Tucker. The misdemeanor charge is for alleged thefts of under $200, according to Hines.
One of the draft’s youngest prospects, Horton-Tucker was a starter for the Cyclones all season as he showed promise during an up-and-down season. Horton-Tucker is scheduled to appear at the NBA Draft Combine this week in Chicago as he’ll be meeting with NBA teams. It’s hard to say how this will impact Horton-Tucker’s stock, as he’s one of the draft’s youngest players who also carries a lot of upside, but it’s something to monitor going forward.
Kansas landed a commitment from one of the best available high school seniors on Tuesday night as top-50 Class of 2019 wing Tristan Enaruna pledged to the Jayhawks.
The 6-foot-9 Enaruna is a native of The Netherlands as he’s been playing high school basketball in the United States since the middle of last season at Wasatch Academy in Utah. After a strong appearance at Basketball Without Borders in February, Enaruna vaulted into the national top 50 of a couple of prominent recruiting services.
The top-rated Kansas pledge in the Class of 2019, Enaruna is an upside forward with length and a workable skillset. The Jayhawks will continue to recruit for some open scholarship needs for next season as Enaruna joins four-star prospects Isaac McBride and Christian Braun in the Kansas recruiting class.
Despite facing a likely NCAA investigation due to previous recruiting practices by an Adidas employee, the University of Kansas opted to extend its apparel contract with the shoe giant on Wednesday.
Signing a lucrative 14-year extension worth $196 million total, the Jayhawks will stay in Adidas gear for the foreseeable future — despite the company damaging the program’s reputation during the first college basketball corruption trial.
Former Adidas runner and AAU coach T.J. Gassnola testified in federal court last October that he made payments on behalf of the company to Kansas basketball players Billy Preston and Silvio De Sousa. Preston never ended up playing for the Jayhawks while De Sousa was suspended two seasons by the NCAA — something Kansas appealed and hopes to shorten after he already missed the 2018-19 season. Kansas will likely hear from the NCAA about an investigation shortly as the trial created national headlines.
But even after Adidas put the school in an uncomfortable light, the company gave Kansas a sweet deal that is tough for them to pass up. Worth $14 million annually, the deal will be one of the largest by an apparel company in college sports as Kansas and Adidas have already been partners since 2005.
The extension will pay the Kansas athletics department an average of $3.86 million more per year in base compensation and an astounding $4.12 million more per year in product allowance. The new extension also allows for Kansas to get a significant amount of early money in the deal as the school will receive $11 million annually in base compensation from Adidas in each of the next two years before the number drops back down to around $4 million.
While Adidas certainly hurt the Kansas brand (and maybe even recruiting for the 2019 class) the company clearly felt it needed to make a grand gesture in order to keep the Jayhawks apart of the brand. As one of the flagship Adidas programs for the past 14 years, the Jayhawks have gone on a record-breaking Big 12 regular-season title streak while also winning a national championship.
It’s controversial for Kansas to continue its business ties with a company that hurt them, but the significant boost in annual compensation — coupled with significant money the next two years — was clearly too good for the school to pass up.
Kansas freshman guard Quentin Grimes is declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft he announced on Wednesday.
The 6-foot-5 Grimes had an up-and-down first season in Lawrence as he went from a very-hyped McDonald’s All-American into an inconsistent player. Although Grimes showed flashes of greatness at times during the 2018-19 season — including 21 points in the season-opening Champions Classic win over Michigan State — he was never able to become the consistent double-figure scorer that many believed he would be.
Grimes put up 8.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 38 percent from the field and 34 percent from three-point range on the season. In a draft that doesn’t feature a lot of players with long-term upside, Grimes could be an intriguing name in the first round because of his size and ability to play multiple spots on the perimeter.
Shooting from the perimeter and the lack of consistent play this season will be questioned by NBA personnel, but there’s also a reason Grimes was highly-regarded entering the season. Grimes has the type of talent and upside to turn things around if he opts to stay in the draft and turn pro.
If Kansas loses Grimes then they’ll need to figure out who to pair along with guard Devon Dotson for the future. The Jayhawks also lost guard Charlie Moore to a transfer this offseason as Kansas is looking a little thin on the perimeter at the moment.