After their season ended with a 65-59 loss to North Texas in the NIT, Cowboy basketball players met individually with coach Mike Boynton.
No conversation went exactly the same.
“Each situation is a little different in regards to whether they are even capable of being back, or whether it’s in their best interest or the interest of the program to be back next season,” Boynton said. “Not all of those decisions are necessarily mine or theirs.”
The Cowboys finished 20-16, earning the No. 1 overall seed in the NIT after being the first team out of the NCAA Tournament. The team will look different next season.
“There’s going to be a lot of fluidity in the roster, honestly,” Boynton said.
Guard Caleb Asberry and forward Bernard Kouma are the only Cowboys who have exhausted their eligibility. And to be clear, Boynton said none of the players who can return to OSU said they did not want to in their meeting with Boynton.
And yet, Boynton and his staff aren’t naive about college basketball’s current landscape.
“I don’t expect everyone that’s eligible (to return) to be back, in all candor,” Boynton said.
It’s why Boynton took his laptop to Wichita when traveling to watch his son play basketball. Between games, he sat in the corner, put headphones on and watched film on players in the transfer portal. He had the laptop out when eating dinner recently, evaluating potential Cowboys while a women’s game played in the background.
“We’re going to continue to make sure we are aggressive in the recruiting space,” Boynton said. “A lot of it will be through the transfer portal. We’ve already made a lot of contacts.”
Still dealing with NCAA-imposed scholarship reductions, Bonyton said he has more flexibility when assigning scholarships for next year. He may use all 13 if the right player mandates it, or he could stick to using just 12.
It is all about the fit, as his team evolves.
“What's glaring, from my perspective, we need more playmakers," Boynton said. "We've got to get deeper. We've got to get probably more dynamic in terms of playmaking front court, obviously, we got to get more skilled there.”