Ready. Set. Go.

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SPORTS - BY CHAN­DLER VES­SELS Staff Writer cves­sels@ok­la­homan.com

Newly named OSU men’s bas­ket­ball coach Mike Bony­ton is just now fin­ished set­tling in to his new of­fice in Still­wa­ter, but that hasn’t stopped him from dream­ing about the sea­son to come and the ex­pec­ta­tions he has now as the head man of the Cow­boys.

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 prob- ably 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.

Mike Boyn­ton

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