New basketball assistant coach, Cannen Cunningham

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Dec 6, 2006
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www.tulsalawyer.org
#1
Oklahoma State hires brother of No. 2 prospect

Oklahoma State made a significant move in the basketball recruiting world on Tuesday, hiring the older brother of No. 2-ranked rising senior Cade Cunningham as its new assistant coach.

Cannen Cunningham, 26, played at SMU from 2011 to 2015 and spent last season at Tulane as the associate director of video operations under Mike Dunleavy Sr.

"I am thrilled to be able to add Cannen to our staff," Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said. "I have gotten to know Cannen really well over the last year or so as I have watched his development as a coach. He has a great knack for player development and has a relatability with players that will be a tremendous asset to the continual growth of our program. Cannen has strong knowledge of basketball as he has learned from a couple of our game's best teachers. I look forward to the energy and relationships that he can bring to elevate our program to the next level."

Cunningham also spent time on the coaching staffs of the Drive Nation and Texas Titans grassroots programs.

Cade Cunningham, a 6-foot-7 point guard from Texas who plays at Montverde Academy (Florida), is one of the best high school prospects in the country. He rose to No. 2 in the most recent ESPN 100 rankings after a stellar spring. Playing for the Texas Titans on the Nike EYBL circuit, Cunningham averaged 25.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists through 12 games.

As speculation grew over the past month about Oklahoma State potentially hiring his brother, various industry sources began considering the Cowboys as the favorites to land Cunningham's commitment for the 2020-21 season.

The trend of programs hiring the relative of a highly ranked prospect has grown in recent years. Washington and then Missouri hired Michael Porter Sr., the father of Michael Porter Jr. and Jontay Porter, and Western Kentucky hired the guardian of Charles Bassey. Last spring, USC hired Eric Mobley, the father of incoming five-star freshman Isaiah Mobley and top-ranked rising senior Evan Mobley.
 

wrenhal

Territorial Marshal
Aug 11, 2011
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#7
It seems strange to me that this is allowed.

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I don't think it's strange. We didn't necessarily hiring him just for his brother. This guy has ties to AAU teams in Texas and that's a big thing these days.

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CTeamPoke

Legendary Cowboy
Jun 18, 2008
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#10
I don’t like it. Looks desperate to me.
Well... First and foremost the guy has bonafide coaching credentials. Played for Larry Brown. Coached a little under Tim Jankovich, who was an Eddie Sutton guy (and Brown cites Iba as one of his biggest influences). Then he coached under Dunleavy, which was a failed experiment at Tulane but I'm sure he learned some important things down there. Not to mention the DFW coaching and recruiting connections he has, which will surely pay dividends.

Finally, if Kentucky or UNC did this it wouldn't look desperate. Just because we aren't on that level doesn't mean we are desperate for doing the same thing.
 
Dec 6, 2006
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www.tulsalawyer.org
#11
It seems strange to me that this is allowed.

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Oklahoma State hiring the brother of nation's No. 3 recruit as an assistant coach is a tactic we've seen before
Here's 10 times a school made an addition to its coaching staff and the new hire was connected to a top recruit
  • by Kyle Boone

    Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton hired Cannen Cunningham as the Cowboys' newest assistant coach on Tuesday. A ho-hum offseason move on its face made all the more interesting by the fact that Cunningham just happens to be the brother of the No. 3 recruit in the nation: Cade Cunningham.
    As expected, many see it as a play to cut to the front of the line for the services of the five-star guard, who is currently uncommitted. Cade Cunningham holds offers from Duke, Kansas and Kentucky among others, but is expected to sign with, you guessed it, Oklahoma State.

    It's fair to be skeptical of the hire and the optics behind it, but let's cut to the chase: it's hardly the first time eyebrows have been raised over such a move. College coaches hiring family members, guardians or confidants tied to top recruits as assistant coaches is not a new phenomenon. Cowboys coach Mike Boynton isn't the first to pull such a stunt, and he sure won't be the last.
    Dating back to the 1980s, there are instances of coaches hiring fathers, guardians, anyone with a pulse remotely related to a can't-miss player in hopes of said can't-miss player can turn the fortunes of one program around.
    Most times, it has been successful. In the 1980s Kansas coach Larry Brown hired Ed Manning to get Danny Manning and was rewarded with a national title. In 2000, then-Memphis coach John Calipari hired Milt Wagner to get DaJuan Wagner, resulting in a key checkpoint in Calipari's quest to one-and-donedom. There are countless other similar occurences.

    It should be noted that in an effort to curb the practice, the NCAA enacted a rule in 2010 prohibiting the hiring of individuals associated with recruited players to non-coaching positions (such as director of basketball operations or other supporting adminstrative jobs), but that rule does not pertain to assistant coaches.
    Here's a handful of the most interesting times a staff member's hiring drew some attention because of their relationship to a top recruit.
    1. Southern Cal hires Eric Mobley (2018)
    This was a two-fer. As a result of this hire not only did Southern Cal land top-20 recruit Isaiah Mobley, Eric Mobley's elder son who will be a freshman next year. The hiring of Eric Mobley (likely) will get them Evan Mobley, the younger son ranked as the consensus No. 1 player in the 2020 class. The result is still yet to be determined on this hire, but even amidst an FBI scandal and zero wins in the Big Dance since taking over in 2013, coach Andy Enfield has remained employed. Hiring the elder Mobley essentially bought him three years insurance in this case. The Trojans could be the most talented team in the Pac-12 in 2020.
    2. SMU hires Tyrone Maxey (2017)
    In an effort to keep South Garland (Texas) product Tyrese Maxey, the No. 10 player in the 2019 class, at home, SMU hired his father in the late summer months of 2017.

    Nine months later, Maxey pledged to Kentucky -- shortly before Maxey pledged to UK and, presumably, with news that the hire wasn't enough to sway Maxey into going to SMU. He's now signed his national letter of intent and will be a freshman at UK this upcoming season. What was supposed to be a package deal wound up being a package dud.
    3. Washington (2016) - then Missouri (2017) - hires Michael Porter Sr.

    Washington coach Lorenzo Romar hired Michael Porter Sr. in 2016 in hopes of getting his son, Michael Porter Jr., who at the time of his hiring was the No. 1 player in the 2017 recruiting class. And it worked. Porter Jr. pledged to Washington months after his father was hired ... but Romar was canned in March 2017 and the Porter's looked elsewhere.
    Later, in 2017, after Cuonzo Martin left Cal for Missouri, Martin hired Michael Porter Sr. From there, Porter Jr. got out of his letter of intent in the spring of 2017 and ultimately signed with Missouri. Martin and Mizzou got a triple-helping of the Porter family when Porter Sr. and Porter Jr. were joined by Jontay Porter, the younger brother who reclassified from 2018 to 2017 shortly afterwards. He spent two seasons at Mizzou and went undrafted after entering the NBA Draft last week.
    4. LSU hires David Patrick (2012)

    This wasn't as blatantly foul as some other moves, but LSU coach Johnny Jones hiring David Patrick -- the godfather of prodigious prospect Ben Simmons -- in 2012 certainly seemed calculated. Even by 2012, Simmons was seen as a game-changing talent and later became the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2015 class. Simmons picked LSU in the end, joining his godfather. LSU won 19 games and missed the NCAA Tournament in Simmons' only college season and Patrick left in 2016 to take a job on TCU's staff with Jamie Dixon.

    5. Western Kentucky hires Shammond Williams (2016)

    If you weren't convinced by now that hiring godfather's isn't a guaranteed win, this instance will win you over. Western Kentucky coach Rick Stansbury in 2016 hired Shammond Williams -- the godfather of five-star recruit Mitchell Robinson -- and things never worked out. In fact, Robinson committed to Western Kentucky, arrived on campus, but never actually played. He left campus and waffled on whether to play college basketball before ultimately deciding to take the year off. He was drafted No. 36 overall in 2018 by New York and is now one of the few bright spots for the basketball future of the Knicks. Williams resigned before the 2017-18 season.
    6. Western Kentucky hires Hennssy Auriantal (2018)

    A double dosage of Western Kentucky. Rick Stansbury knows how to work it!
    In this instance, he hired Hennssy Auriantal, the guardian of former five-star center Charles Bassey, to land Bassey. Unlike Robinson, it worked. Bassey was one of the best players in Conference USA last season, and after a disappointing pre-draft process, he announced earlier this summer he'll be back for a second season with the Hilltoppers. Auriantal is still on staff at WKU.
    7. Memphis hires Milt Wagner (2000)

    DaJuan Wagner was a potential preps-to-pros candidate and could have been a top pick in 2001, but instead he played at Memphis for one season under John Calipari after Calipari brought on board his father, Milt Wagner, as the Coordinator of Basketball Operations at Memphis. The elder Wagner remained employed with the Tigers program through 2006, just a few years before Calipari parachuted into the Kentucky job.
    8. Kansas hires Ronnie Chalmers (2005)
    The instance most people connect to Kansas is the one I noted earlier: that Larry Brown hired Ed Manning, the father of star recruit Danny Manning. But a lesser-known perhaps more notable, instance came under the current coach Bill Self in 2005 when he hired the father of Mario Chalmers, Ronnie.

    Yes, like many on this list, Mario wound up playing at KU -- and playing a large role. In 2008, he hit a critical shot in the national title game that pushed the KU-Memphis game to overtime. The Jayhawks would oust the Tigers, giving Self his first (and thus far, only) national championship.
    9. Memphis hires Keelon Lawson (2014)

    Josh Pastner made a strategic, smart hire in 2014 by tabbing Keelon Lawson as an assistant. The move ultimately netted the Tigers commitments from Dedric and K.J. Lawson, Keelon's eldest sons, and seemingly put them in the catbird seat to land Class of 2019 star Chandler Lawson. Memphis ultimately ran Pastner off, Tubby Smith demoted Keelon Lawson, and Dedric and K.J. wound up transferring to Kansas. (Dedric has since turned pro, and K.J. will be a grad transfer at Tulane next season.) Chandler signed with Oregon and will be a freshman with the Ducks next season.
    10. Baylor hires Dwon Clifton (2008)

    In most cases, hires are rewarded by a commitment from whichever prospect the respective incoming employee is tied to. In this case, that was not so. Baylor hired Dwon Clifton, the AAU coach of blue-chip recruit John Wall, as its Director of Player Development in 2008. It backfired. Less than a year later, Wall committed to Kentucky.

 
Oct 29, 2016
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#13
Man...if we could land Cade Cunningham...it would probably be program changing. He would be the second highest recruit in the history of Cowboy Basketball. :woot:
No doubt. And if we do land him, Holder better give Boynton a blank check, because Boynton's name has already been mentioned for a few other jobs due to his ability of recruiting. Holder has a bad history of doing everything wrong regarding the basketball program.

Having said that, I think HC Boynton will stay for another 3-4-years-ish. Let's hope anyway. His successful recruiting will, IMO, result in a couple of Big 12 championship victories, as well as NCAA tournament wins. If he stays another 4-years, I don't think it's unreasonable to think we'll have a very legitimate chance of winning a national championship before his OSU tenure is over. I wish he would stay here until he retires from coaching.. but that's just wishful thinking on my part.
 
Last edited:
Jan 5, 2015
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#14
Man...if we could land Cade Cunningham...it would probably be program changing. He would be the second highest recruit in the history of Cowboy Basketball. :woot:
From a basketball standpoint, he'd be the best ever recruit in OSU's history. There's an extremely high chance he's a top 3 pick, and a good chance he ends up as the #1 overall pick.
 
Dec 21, 2016
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From a basketball standpoint, he'd be the best ever recruit in OSU's history. There's an extremely high chance he's a top 3 pick, and a good chance he ends up as the #1 overall pick.
Its not conclusive that this kid will come here just cos we hired his brother. It does improve our odds though but its a gamble. Im more intrigued by cannen's coaching ability and his recruiting ties to the AAU circuit. Getting Cade Cunningham would be an added bonus to an improved BB staff. The optics look bad but overall, well done to Coach Boynton.
 
Aug 22, 2006
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#19
No doubt. And if we do land him, Holder better give Boynton a blank check, because Boynton's name has already been mentioned for a few other jobs due to his ability of recruiting. Holder has a bad history of doing everything wrong regarding the basketball program.

Having said that, I think HC Boynton will stay for another 3-4-years-ish. Let's hope anyway. His successful recruiting will, IMO, result in a couple of Big 12 championship victories, as well as NCAA tournament wins. If he stays another 4-years, I don't think it's unreasonable to think we'll have a very legitimate chance of winning a national championship before his OSU tenure is over. I wish he would stay here until he retires from coaching.. but that's just wishful thinking on my part.
In Boynton's interviews I have watched he and Mike Holder are on the same page, he was 100% Holder's guy and he took a big chance putting Boynton in his position. They are very loyal to each other I'm not saying that Boynton won't leave for a better opportunity but the guy is all about OSU. He's at baseball games, softball games, football games etc. he knows being bought in to the athletic department and being seen are important to letting his guys know that he's practicing what he preaches. If he continues to recruit like he has been and that turns into the success on the court that we believe it will he may stay for a long time. OSU basketball is held in a high regard just a notch below the UNC, Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas ultra blue bloods, even though we haven't had much success over the last decade +. When he starts winning, as I think he will this year, and pushing for a conference championship, as I think he will in 2021, OSU will be a destination for the best basketball players in the country. And why would he leave something he has built into a power to go to another place and start over? I know that I am highly optimistic but coach Boynton makes me that way.