Between three national championships, multiple hall of fame inclusions and coaching NBA legend Michael Jordan, North Carolina coach Roy Williams has seen it all.
But even he was impressed by Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham.
“Cade is one of the finest basketball players I have ever recruited,” Williams said. “I truly believe he will be one of the best players in all of college basketball next year.”
As the No. 1 basketball player in the 2020 class, Cunningham is no stranger to high praise. But his skills and maturity continuously wow some of the best coaches in college basketball.
“Whenever you go through distractions and adversity, one way or another it’s a difficult time,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “It’s not easy, you’ve just got to stay the course and you do what you gotta do. But it doesn’t hurt when you’ve got a player like (Mike Boynton’s) got coming in. I’m excited to see how they do and I was happy to see that (Cunningham) stayed with his commitment.
“I think that speaks volumes about the university, the basketball program and the fan base.”
Between the scandal, the COVID-19 pandemic and protests across the country, Cunningham has many issues to be distracted by. But, thanks to his mindset, he’s proven his ability to stay locked-in throughout all of the noise.
“There’s a lot of unknowns, but we’re gonna prepare like there’s going to be a season and work as hard as we can in the offseason to get ready for it so that if they do say there is a season, we’re prepared and we’re gonna win games,” Cunningham said. “And if not, we’re still gonna train to be the best players that we can be until we do play basketball again.
“I’m gonna try to get good grades and score a lot of points.”
Cunningham’s ability to constantly work and lead has allowed him to already step up as one of OSU’s leaders this offseason. Many coaches, including in-conference opponents, see this offseason momentum swinging into the regular season.
“In terms of Cade, I don’t know if there’s a player that’s come around in the last several years that I like better as a basketball player coming into college than him,” said Texas coach Shaka Smart. “He has a very, very special blend of confidence and humility that is extremely unique, especially at such a young age.
“So he’s going to have a terrific year.”