New Oklahoma State basketball coach Mike Boynton has two important tasks this week. Hit the recruiting trail and secure and, perhaps find, players for next season in Stillwater and finalize his coaching staff.
Featuring pictures of Stillwater and the campus after take-off and Miami on final approach on the Twitter account @thacoachmike, new Oklahoma State basketball head coach Mike Boynton and his newly named associate head coach Lamont Evans have been on the move since Monday's news conference officially announcing Boynton as head coach. They are on the move recruiting, but also we have confirmed reports of phone calls made and received as Boynton works on finishing hiring his coaching staff. Something one source told us won't be full completed until the Final Four and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC Convention as part of the Final Four in Phoenix. One name we confirmed that has been in contact with Boykin and may be on staff is just fired Miami of Ohio head coach John Cooper.
Several Twitter posts indicated that the trip to Miami was strong and locked in talented South Miami Senior H.S. point guard Zack Dawson (6-4, 180). Dawson is signed along with teammate and small forward Latravian Glover (6-7, 215), but you can never count on other schools not trying to push even signees toward asking for a release in the aftermath of a coaching change. Dawson had offers from the likes of Louisville, Central Florida, Iowa State, and Kansas State.
Oklahoma State should be safe on overseas signee Souleymane Diakite, a 6-8, 230 pound power forward out of Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain. The Cowboys have a commitment from Amauri Hardy of Farmington Hills (North Farmington), Mich. Hardy (6-2, 175) is a point guard that Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Kent State have also offered. There were rumors that since leaving Oklahoma State that Brad Underwood and Illinois had also jumped into his recruiting picture. Boynton and Evans will also work to secure that signing.
Evans and his recruiting prowess was a key hire and one Boynton announced on Monday and Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder revealed was in his office with Boynton when Holder offered Boynton the job.
"That is how highly I think of him," Holder said in revealing that fact.
"I don't even know where to start. He's an unbelievably hard worker. That's key. He's tremendously loyal, smart, knows basketball and for us it's about relationships," Boynton said of Evans, also calling him the brother that he never had. "To have the opportunity, at my first head coaching position, to have someone who I'm so in line with philosophically gives me great comfort and I cannot thank him enough."
While the pair are out on the road recruiting before heading to Phoenix later this week, there are contacts made in looking for the final two ful-time assistant coaches and other staff members. Danny Henderson, who served with Boynton and Evans as a full-time assistant on Brad Underwood's staff. Henderson was in the Oklahoma State basketball office on Tuesday.
Fired just about three weeks ago on March 10 as head coach at Miami of Ohio, John Cooper has been in contact with Boynton and the belief is Cooper is a strong candidate that Boynton will talk with more, perhaps in Phoenix. Cooper played for Eddie Fogler, yes, the consultant or headhunter that OSU used in the rather short coaching search. Cooper was also an assistant for Fogler when he recruited Boynton from Brooklyn to South Carolina and was part of the staff that coached Boynton his first season with the Gamecocks.
Since then Cooper has been an assistant coach at Oregon and Auburn before being the head coach at Tennessee State for three seasons and then at Miami of Ohio for the past five seasons. His head coaching record is 102-152. His best season was at TSU in 2011-12 when they finished 20-13. He did not have a winning season with the Redhawks.
We have not heard any other names, but a source told us that much of the work on staff would go down in Phoenix at the Final Four and NABC Convention. At his press conference Boynton said this when asked about staff decisions.
"I don't have any others that I'm ready to announce and I don't really have a timetable," said the first-time head coach. "I want to hire the best staff that I possibly can. This isn't about me. These guys will be co-coaches. They get to call me head coach, but Lamont is as every bit a head coach as I am and these guys I try to hire will be as qualified as either one of us. I just want to surround our guys with the best people possible to help them achieve their goals and the goals we set of our program."