Cowboy Hoops Notebook: Verticals and 2022 MJ Rice Update
*Updated with more complete stats and combine measurements
STILLWATER -- The hype around Cowboy basketball going into the 2020-21 season, even with a potential postseason ban for the upcoming season, is through the roof.
Something to add to the excitement is some measurement numbers of some of the incoming freshmen, While it was closed to the public and media, yesterday was measurement day for Oklahoma State basketball and some of the numbers were released on social media.
Two of the most-impressive numbers to come out yesterday is the height of Cade Cunningham and the vertical of Montreal Pena.
Cunningham checked in at an impressive 6-8 (!). To put that into perspective, the tallest point guard in the Big 12 this past season was Isaac Likekele at 6-4. Just to give you an idea of how big a 6-8 point guard is, Magic Johnson checks in at 6-9.
Now, onto Pena, which might be the most-impressive number to come out of yesterday. Pena, who hasn't really gotten much attention in a recruiting class that features the No. 1 prospect out of America AND Canada, posted a 42.5-inch vertical.
That number would've been the second-highest vertical recorded at the 2019 NBA Combine behind Jalen Lecque who posted 43-inches.
What's more impressive, is the 42.5 by Pena was just an inch shorter than former Cowboy great Markel Brown, who posted 43.5 inches at the 2014 NBA Combine.
Leading up to Yor Anei's freshman season, it wasn't that I was negative towards him, I just didn't give him a ton of credit. He was a relatively unknown prospect that no one expected to have the freshman season he did. I really hope the same goes for Pena.
Other incredibly impressive verticals that were put up yesterday was a 39.5-inch leap by incoming guard Rondel Walker, a 40-inch vertical by sophomore guard Avery Anderson and 41.5 inches by Isaac Likekele.
Pena, as well as Cade Cunningham, posted a seven-foot wingspan, getting beat only by Kalib Boone who posted a mark of 7-2.
The Cowboys also tested on the bench press, where Donovan Williams led the way for the freshmen with 15 reps of 185 pounds. Junior Dee Mitchell also impressed with 18 reps, while sophomore Chris Harris posted 15 reps and grad transfer Ferron Flavors Jr. posted 13.
As for the 3/4 court spring, Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe posted a 3.04, while Avery Anderson and Rondel Walker posted 3.07.
MJ Rice Recruiting Update
MJ Rice is a shooting guard in the class of 2022 and he checks in as 6-5, 210-pounds. He's listed as a small forward by the recruiting services, but I think it's safe to call him a stretch forward.
This past season for Durham (N.C.) Academy, Rice was on fire before he tore his ACL in December. He was averaging 25 points, nine rebounds and two assists per game. This upcoming season, Rice will be playing for Oak Hill Academy.
Rice also checks in as a composite five-star prospect and the No. 22 overall prospect in the 2022 class.
In an exclusive blog post with SI All-American, Rice gives an update on his healing process, as well as an update on recruiting, which includes Oklahoma State.
"Things are cool for me right now; I’m still working on my knee and trying to get stronger every day. The progress is looking good.
I’m back to running and jumping now and my physical therapist told me that my knee is completely healed. Now, it’s all about getting it back stronger than it ever was before. I have shootarounds Mondays and Wednesdays and on the other days I’m doing core stuff.
Next week I’ll have my first real test to see where I’m at. If I pass, I’ll get to move to the phase of cutting and things like that; just more basketball-related drills so I’m excited about doing that test!"
While none of the recruiting services show an offer from Oklahoma State, Mike Boynton and Co. are definitely building a relationship with Rice.
"My recruitment has picked up a lot since June 15 when the coaches started calling. I’m building closer bonds with the coaches just getting to know them better.
"I’ve heard from Clemson, Winthrop, Pitt, Duke, Louisville, Indiana, Providence, Iowa, Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Wake Forest, N.C. State and a few more."