Oklahoma State basketball star Cade Cunningham was supposed to go on a Carmelo Anthony-like run to the national title, but it’s over before the Sweet 16 begins.
Oklahoma State basketball was eliminated by 12-seed Oregon State in the Round of 32, ending Cunningham’s bid to go on a run like Carmelo Anthony when he led Syracuse to the national title as a freshman. Brackets were busted with the upset as the Cowboys were a popular pick to make it to the Final Four.
They didn’t even make it past the first weekend.
Cunningham had 24 points, four rebounds, three assists and five steals while playing all 40 minutes against Oregon State. That line looks great. However, he shot just 30 percent from the field and 36 percent from 3.
Against 13-seed Liberty in the Round of 64, Cunningham was limited to one point in the first half. He has been a slow starter at times during his freshman season and came alive in the second half to finish with 15 points, but he shot 21 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3.
The Cade Cunningham experience was over far too soon
His shooting metrics are an eyesore and some of it can be attributed to trying to do too much on the big stage, especially with trying to shoot his way back into the game against Oregon State.
It’s not going to see his NBA Draft stock drop but it will be the biggest question he faces about his game. Additionally, teams will be concerned if he could struggle so mightily against Liberty, what’s going to happen when he plays against LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Luka Dončić?
Ben Simmons didn’t even take LSU to the NCAA Tournament and he was still the No. 1 pick of the Philadelphia 76ers. This is just part of the process when you are such a hyped recruit and prospect that Cunningham is.
Expectations are high, sometimes unfair because the talent level and potential are so high.
You’d rather have this be saddled to you than the opposite.
What’s disappointing is fans won’t get to see him anymore in March Madness to see his talent level on display in the remainder of the NCAA Tournament.
College basketball fans will miss his presence and the excitement he brought every time he stepped on the court. It was over far too soon, which is often the case for generational talents like Cunningham. They pass through college basketball so quickly that it’s hard to fully appreciate them until they’ve been in the NBA. This can be partly true for guys like Anthony and Anthony Davis.
You really appreciate them and miss them more when you don’t see their kind in the college game while they’re building their Hall of Fame resume in the NBA.
With the notion the NBA may welcome high school prospects directly to the Draft in the near future, it’s fair to wonder when “the next Cade Cunningham” will play in the NCAA Tournament.
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