STILUTER, Okla. (AP) – Cade Cunningham waited patiently before hitting.
Last Saturday, the Oklahoma stellar freshman performed a 40-point victory over Oklahoma in overtime, and fans waited for a return run two nights later.
Instead, the 6-foot-8-point defender came on for almost 33 minutes without scoring a goal.
When he connected, everything changed. Only three of his baskets came in two minutes, turning the five-point deficit into three points. In the last 15 minutes, he scored 13 of his 15 points, and the Cowboys won 79-75.
Cunningham’s understanding of how to be more productive is one of the main reasons why Oklahoma is one of the hottest teams in the nation. The 17th-ranked Cowboys won five games on Thursday against No. 3 Baylor, including three in a row against the Top 25.
“I think at the beginning of the year, when I felt it was my turn, I would kind of force myself to look back, especially if I had been passive earlier,” Cunningham said. “I think after a while, just building chemistry with the team, becoming more comfortable on the pitch, things like that, I feel like it’s more of what I see in every game now. “I play with purer intentions, just trying to find the right game, whereas earlier I would have kind of asked to decide a little more in my head than I should have.”
Cunningham’s physical instruments are impressive, and the 19-year-old Texas star from Arlington has a NBA-ready frame.
Now his brain is caught. After scoring 21 on 21 pitches and 14 free throws in his first game against Oklahoma, Oklahoma coach Mike Boynton said the race to determine the best NBA pick for this year should be over.
“I have no doubt in his mind that he is the best player in the country,” Boynton said. “And I do not have any questions in my mind, although there are really good players out there who have the No. 1 pick, they may prefer this. This is not so difficult. “
Cunningham leads the Big 12 with 19.5 points per game, but he does much more. He is the eighth in the “Big 12” with a return shot (6.3), the eighth with the percentage of the ball (.451), the 12th with the assist (3.5), the percentage of free throw (.854), the third with the ball (1.5) , որդ ninth blocked shots in both և 3 penalty kicks in each game.
During the five-game series, he damaged various horses. In the second half, he scored 12 of his 12 points in the game against Kansas, in the first half, after the game against Oklahoma, 27 points, and in the second half, he scored 15 of 13 points in the return match against “Soon”.
Other times he stands back. In the second half of the victory over Iowa, he made only four shots. In the home game against Texas, he scored 15 points in the first half, and then his teammates carried the burden of the goal in the 74-69 extra time victory after the break.
Either way, his presence leads to baskets for him or baskets for others.
“Cade is just putting pressure on the rest of us,” said Bryce Williams. “She is under a lot of pressure, but it is not really a pressure on her. He can handle the situation. But he has a team behind him that can support him every day. ”
Six players are averaging at least 8.0 points per game, and the mentioned Cunningham are also clearly off the pitch. He was initially part of a group that often tried to divert his attention, he stayed with the Cowboys even after the NCAA announced a ban on the off-season program awaiting appeal.
“He didn’t come in. ‘These guys are not so good, I’m here to save the day,'” Boynton said. “It was: ‘I believe in what already exists; I believe in myself that I can contribute to it; everyone can eat, so to speak.’
Cunningham listened to the fans with pleasure when they introduced him before the last home game of the “Cowboys”. He was named after the seniors because he was going to the NBA. And during the post-match celebration, he seemed to be just one of the boys. Those moments are part of why he is not as obsessed with the future as some fans-experts.
“I’m not in the NBA yet,” he said. “I do not receive remuneration from any team, I am not subject. My rights as a footballer are not under any NBA team. I’m an OSU cowboy. That worries me. I am with my team every day trying to get better with them. I’m not going to walk out the door. I still want to win games. I still like to be with my teammates. ”
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