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3 takeaways from the first OSU men's basketball practice

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Cowboy Basketball First Official Practice

Image Taken At Cowboy Basketball First Official Practice, Gallagher-Iba Arena, Wednesday, October 14, 2020, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK. Courtney Bay/OSU Athletics

The Oklahoma State men’s basketball team opened up practice on Wednesday, live streaming the event to media and fans. Here are three takeaways from practice.

The backcourt duo of Isaac Likekele and Cade Cunningham is going to be dangerous

The worries of Isaac Likekele and Cade Cunningham not being compatible together have looked diminished after the first open practice on Wednesday. Cunningham looked excellent in open court and was throwing passes with pinpoint accuracy. Likekele’s jumper has also improved tremendously since last season. He was hitting wing 3s with confidence in drills and showed that he can play off the ball. Likekele also showed an improved post-game. Both he and Cunningham will look to take advantage of smaller guards in the post when given the opportunity. This duo is a bit reminiscent of James Harden and Chris Paul back when Paul played for the Houston Rockets. They are both going to get plenty of touches, and they will both score at all three levels.

This team is going to play excellent defense

All practice long, coach Mike Boynton was stressing the importance of team defense. They started the practice with multiple drills focusing on team defense and the team seems to be gelling extremely well on this end of the floor. Boynton also put the entire team through a drill in which players take a charge and immediately get up and go dive on a loose ball. Another drill that showcased Boynton’s defensive focus was a drill in which the team played full-court five on five, but to get a point, a team has to consecutively get a stop and score on the other end. The team as a whole was playing excellent off-ball defense and giving ball handlers no airspace. This team is going to work hard on defense, and it is going to tire out opposing offenses.

Chris Harris Jr. is fully recovered from his injury and is going to be a main piece for this team

After having his freshman season cut short with a knee injury, Chris Harris Jr. is back and better than ever. Harris was knocking down 3s with confidence from any spot behind the arc. His shot looked smooth, and his game showed no signs of his injury. He also looked confident with the ball in his hands and he showed improved speed, athleticism and ball handling. Harris is expected to have an increased role this season, and he is more than ready for that step.

sports.ed@ocolly.com