STILLWATER – Mike Boynton believes Maurice Calloo is Oklahoma State’s most naturally gifted player.
Calloo showed flashes of his potential in OSU’s 80-59 exhibition win against Ouachita Baptist on Sunday at Gallagher-Iba Arena. The freshman from Windsor, Canada, was one of four Cowboys to finish in double figures scoring.
Although he shot 2-of-8 from the floor, Calloo made seven of his eight free throws. He missed five of his six 3-point attempts, but Boynton applauded his ability to shoot. Offensively, Calloo played a multitude of roles throughout the game, including a dominant stretch in the first half.
Listed at 6-foot-9, 225 pounds, Calloo was the ball handler in the pick-and-roll with fellow freshman Kentrevious Jones during a late first half sequence. Calloo used the screen, drove left and finished a layup through contact. Four possessions later, he drilled a 3 from the left wing.
When OSU was on offense the following possession, his presence in the paint earned him a trip to the free-throw line.
“His issue right now is, like a lot of freshman, is he doesn’t have the ability yet to focus for a long period of time,” Boynton said. “He has and shows flashes every day in practice, but he also shows he gets tired quickly or he loses his focus on the defensive rotation. Those are the things that are holding him back from really, really taking a step forward.
“But when he does that, and I’m confident he’ll do at some point here early in the season because he’s going to be on the court, that we’re going to see a kid who makes a major impact on our team.”
Calloo was one of six freshmen who made their debuts. Isaac Likekele led the Cowboys with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting. He made two of his three 3-point attempts and was 4-of-5 at the free-throw line.
Likekele also grabbed three steals.
Along with Likekele, Yor Anei started with the three Cowboy captains: Cameron McGriff, Thomas Dziagwa and Lindy Waters. He played only 8:57 because of foul trouble.
Waters and McGriff each tallied 15 points and Calloo added 12. McGriff snagged 10 rebounds, giving him a double-double.
Freshman Kentrevious Jones was the first sub after 2:14 of game action. He finished with six points, three rebounds and three turnovers. Duncan Demuth came in off the bench and added two points, six rebounds and three assists.
Walk-on Luke Major played 12 minutes and scored four points. Boynton said he is someone who could continue to see playing time as the season progresses.
McGriff said the Europe trip in August helped the freshmen’s progression.
“I think they definitely had an idea of what we needed from an effort standpoint to come out and perform, and I think they were also excited to play in front of the fans here in Stillwater,” McGriff said.
OSU opens its season at 3 p.m. Saturday against Charlotte in North Carolina. Suspended guard Michael Weathers has a court hearing Monday, and Boynton said of Weathers coming back: “I don’t want to get ahead of the legal process for sure, but from what I understand at this point, he has been doing everything necessary in that regard. As long as that doesn’t change in the next two or three days or whatever it is, then we certainly hope and will have to deal with the next part, which is what does this look like for our team, his involvement.”
The Cowboys shot 45 percent from the field and 26.9 percent from behind the 3-point line. With 21 turnovers and early-season miscommunications, Boynton said there are plenty of things to sure up before the season opener.
Mike Cunningham, a graduate transfer guard, was expected to start but sat out because of a hamstring injury. Boynton said he could have played if he needed Cunningham to, but he wasn’t going to rush him back.
Likekele said the exhibition was a great warm up before the Cowboys start their season Saturday.
“Really, it’s just a confidence booster,” Likekele said, “because at the same time, the veterans and the captains and Coach Boynton, they always expect us to get better and do more, so I can’t really just dwell on this game and what I did. I just gotta practice hard and move on to the next game.”