Oklahoma State basketball: Will new assistant establish Canadian pipeline?

Newly hired Oklahoma State basketball assistant coach Larry Blunt brings an impressive set of credentials with him to Stillwater. The former Drake assistant coach helped establish Orangeville Prep in the Canadian province of Ontario, which is the school that produced OSU sophomore Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe. At the school, Blunt helped coached more than a dozen players who would later go on to play basketball on a D-I scholarship or in the professional ranks.

In Blunt’s three seasons at Drake with head coach Darian DeVries, the Bulldogs improved their win-loss record each year, including a 26-5 mark this past season. Drake won a First Four game against Wichita State before losing to USC as a No. 11 seed in the 2021 NCAA Tournament’s first round during the school’s first Big Dance appearance since 2008.

New Oklahoma State basketball assistant coach Larry Blunt could be instrumental in establishing a OSU pipeline for talented Canadian high school players.

Blunt, in his new role in Stillwater, could establish a pipeline for elite high school talent from Canada to Mike Boynton’s OSU squad.

Start with Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe, who improved last year as a true freshman. The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 9.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and was instrumental in OSU’s regular-season finale against West Virginia (when the team was missing Cade Cunningham and Isaac Likelele), scoring 18 points. He improved throughout the season and had four games of 10 or more rebounds.

Moncrieffe was rated as the top high school recruit out of Ontario in his class and played for Team Canada in the FIBA U-19 World Cup in Greece. He chose OSU over offers from Seton Hall, Georgetown, Florida, and Oregon.

The number of talented Canadian basketball players has jumped off the charts recently. Consider that between 1983 and 2009, only nine players from Canada heard their names in the NBA Draft. In 2019 alone, six Canadians were drafted, setting a record for a country outside of the United States. That year’s class from Canada was highlighted by Duke’s RJ Barrett and Virginia Tech’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker, both who are averaging double-digit scoring with their NBA teams.

Elite Canadian high school basketball prospects aren’t always well known in the United States and may not show up in the normal recruiting buzz. There is, though, a clearly rising awareness on behalf of NCAA coaches of the talent north of the border — and the hiring of Blunt as an assistant may put OSU on the path to lure some of these top players to Stillwater.

If Chuba Hubbard and Amen Ogbongbemiga could venture this far south, a few Canadian guys could do the same on the hardwood, too.