Brad Underwood has now spent more than three months with his Oklahoma State basketball team. After hitting the ground running after being named the Cowboys head coach on March 22, Underwood and his staff spent June getting to know the players they inherited.
Underwood was gracious enough to visit with GoPokes.com’s Terry Tush about his first 100 days on the job (which would have been June 29). If you missed it, here are links to the two-part series (Part 1 and Part 2).
The Cowboys head coach also took the time to provide his thoughts on each and every players on the OSU roster. We’ll break it down by classification (here are the earlier stories on Underwood’s thoughts on the Phil Forte and the seniors, the Cowboys juniors, including Mitchell Solomon, and Jawun Evans and the other sophomores).
Below are Underwood's thoughts on the team’s freshmen.
Lindy Waters. G
A 4-star prospect, Waters was ranked as the 19th-best shooting guard in the nation by Scout.com. He had offers from Butler, Cincinnati, Clemson, Harvard, Houston, Iowa State and Oklahoma before deciding to sign with the Cowboys.
What do we need to know about Lindy Waters?
Underwood: I’ll say this about this group, and we’re three weeks in (summer workouts). There’s no possible way in all of my years of coaching that I could be any happier or excited about this group of freshmen of any team I’ve been a part of. Their commitment to work ethic, their commitment to spending time in the gym … unbelievable culture guys that are good players. I’m ecstatic about this group.
Lindy’s really a guy that has no weaknesses in his game. As he continues to gain strength, not that he’s terribly weak, but his versatility – he shoots it, he passes it, his intellect is extremely high. He’s a young man that’s going to have an outstanding career at Oklahoma State. He does it in a kind of quiet way; he’s not an extremely vocal player yet, and he’s still finding his way. He’s repetitions away from being maybe that 6-6 unbelievable shooter, but his game allows him to do a lot. I’m very excited about Lindy.
Brandon Averette, PG
Averette originally signed last November to play for Underwood at Stephen F. Austin but received his release when OSU hired the new coach. He led all DFW area Class 6A players in scoring (22.6ppg) as a senior.
You must really like Brandon Averette since you’ve signed him twice in the last seven months?
Underwood: He’s just an elite athlete with an extremely competitive nature. He’s legendary in the Richardson [Texas] area. We had a lot of Richardson area schools in our team camp [in June}, and they all couldn’t wait to meet Brandon or talk to him because he’s legendary in that area for his workouts. As any freshman, there will be some adjustment, and I’m typically hard on point guards because of their responsibility but I don’t worry with this guy. He’s wanting to watch film all the time, he’s in the gym constantly, and he’s got a body that’s going to all him to just be a pit bull some day on the defensive end.
I said it when I recruited him at Stephen F. [Austin], he’s got one of the best mid-range games I’ve ever seen on a kid at that age. He’s a guy that really since the end of his high school season has done nothing but spend time shooting 3s. He made 26 in a row the other day. He’s a guy that’s positioned because he competes so hard … I’m really excited about his future.
Cameron McGriff, SF
McGriff averaged 14.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists in leading South Grand Prairie to a 26-9 record as a senior. He signed with OSU after receiving offers from Arkansas, Creighton, Houston, Oklahoma, Miami and several others.
Why should OSU fans be excited about Cameron McGriff?
Underwood: Well, when the good Lord handed out basketball bodies, Cam was in that line. He’s an extremely motored-up, hard-playing basketball player. I think that one thing about these freshmen, and I’m going to say this about Cam as well, all of them are terrific people.
Cam is competitive, he’s fiery, [and] he’s a great, great competitor. You can tell a guy who’s been exceptionally well coached, [and] has a lot of the basic fundamental things down. He can step out and shoot it, and that will continued to get better and he matures and gets older. Physically, he’s ready to play major college basketball. That’s only going to get enhanced with what we do in the weight room because right now he’s just spitting nails; he’s eating up the weight room. He’s a versatile guy. He can guard three spots on the floor easily. His athleticism and body are going to allow him to be very productive.
Thomas Dziagwa, SG
Dziagwa signed with OSU last November after being heavily recruited by Stephen F. Austin. So when Underwod was named the Cowboys head coach in March, Dziagwa was ecstatic. He averaged 22.5 points and four assists while making 109 3-pointers in leading Tampa Catholic to the Florida Class 4A state semifinals. He set a Tampa Catholic school record with 2,086 career points.
Tell me about Thomas Dziagwa.
Underwood: Well, you’re talking about a young man who has great size, a 6-4 combo guard. He and Brandon have competitions every day to see who can shoot the most shots and who can make the most. Those two have tremendous work ethic. I recruited Thomas to Stephen F., as I did Lindy as well.
Thomas is a gym rat, and he’s a guy that is a tremendous shooter. He proved that last summer on the circuit. He proved it in high school. He’s one of the elite shooters out there. Physically, he’s one of those guys that has got to get stronger. I think he’s 6-4, 175-176 pounds, so he’s got to get bigger, but an extremely high IQ, though, and has great feel and extinct. He’s another guy because of how hard he works there’s no doubt what his career path is going to be. He’s dialed in, and he’s going to be a good player.