(TNS) — A little over three months into his job as coach at Oklahoma State, Mike Boynton has only begun to settle in. There’s still months to go before the season begins, but he sat down with the Oklahoman to discuss how the job is going and what to expect from OSU basketball in his inaugural season.
How are you settling in now that you’ve been the coach for more than 100 days?
Boynton: One hundred, that’s a big number right? I never once thought about it until it came out in the article. I honestly feel like things have slowed down a little bit, but only in some ways. In other ways, things have really sped up probably in terms of my comfort level coming into the office every day and knowing that I’m responsible for a lot of people. I make decisions that affect a lot of people’s lives. I’m more comfortable now than I was 100 days ago.
How has it been getting out on the recruiting trail this summer?
Boynton: That’s been awesome. There’ve been a few things that have been pretty seamless. I have a great relationship with the players already. Then, obviously all the guys who have joined the program since are guys that I was the head coach when they decided to come. That part has been pretty easy in terms of I didn’t have to get to know a bunch of new people. The other part that’s been pretty seamless is I know this place and all the decision-makers. I know key players. Just kind of being able to wrap my arms around them and give them a sense of comfort on what my philosophy is. Then, recruiting because it’s always been what I’ve done primarily as an assistant coach for the last 10, 11, 12 years. I’ve always been very aggressive and really passionate about the recruiting process. That part of the job gives me a chance to really get to know people.
What do you expect the two transfer guards Kendall Smith and Michael Weathers to bring to the team?
Boynton: Two very different guys, but both have extreme value to our program. Jawun Evans had a tough decision to make and the decision he made was one he thought was best for his future and his family and something we supported for sure. When he left, we knew immediately that we needed another guy who could be a ball handler and decision-maker. Kendall Smith is someone we targeted pretty quickly. He was sought after heavily by a lot of schools. I had an opportunity to fly out with him and his dad and talk about what they’re looking to accomplish in his last year of college basketball. After studying some film on him and getting to know him, I felt a great connection with his ability to be a leader. Something we felt the team needed at that position. Someone who can be a facilitator and help the other guys on the team get better. Also brings some athleticism to our backcourt that we definitely didn’t have in past seasons. He brings some more size, so I’m really excited about what he’s gonna bring and how he’s gonna contribute to our program, even though it’s only gonna be one year. I think his impact will last much longer than that. He’s kind of gonna be a guy who stabilizes us in this year of transition for the staff and a lot of players. Michael Weathers, in a different way, his impact is gonna be felt over a longer period of time because he won’t be able to play this year anyway. He works really hard and he’s extremely passionate about the game. He’s a guy who’s got incredible instincts and gets his hands on a lot of balls defensively. But he’s so physically weak right now that it’s good that he’s gonna have this year to get engulfed into the weight room and our strength and conditioning program.
Do you see Zack Dawson as being someone who can come in and contribute right away?
Boynton: Absolutely. Time will tell as it does with all freshman. Zack is a great study in improvement and a guy who he’s not chippy, he’s a good kid, but he plays with a chip on his shoulder. He’s got great. Pride in the fact that he knows a lot of people that kind of overlooked him. He was recruited well and was a four-star kid, but it wasn’t like this crazy recruitment where there’s every school in America. It was a small group of really good programs recruiting him. I think he’s always felt like he’s been a guy who’s under the radar. He takes pride in trying to prove to himself that he belongs and he can play with the best people in the country. That’s why he wanted to play in the Big 12. He’s physically developed already in a way that a lot of freshmen aren’t. His work ethic combined with some of the guys on the team already will help him be ready to play.
How excited are you for November?
Boynton: I can’t wait. It’s weird, we don’t have a game on the schedule that I didn’t talk to our guy who puts together the schedule about. But when the schedule came out, I’m reading through the schedule and I’m getting goosebumps like I was seeing it for the first time. That’s just the competitor in me. That’s why I tweeted, ‘Opponents are set.’ This is it. I can’t wait until November.