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Ballyhooed freshman Cade Cunningham made his college debut on Wednesday, and he showed himself as the top prospect for the 2021 NBA Draft.
The 2020-21 college basketball season started on Wednesday, and one of the more anticipated games was the debut of highly touted freshman Cade Cunningham for Oklahoma State on the road against UT-Arlington.
The Cowboys escaped with a 75-68 win, led by 21 points,10 rebounds and three assists from Cunningham. He went 7-for-16 from the floor (2-for-5 from 3-point range) and 5-for-7 from the line, along with five turnovers. Fellow freshman Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe had 11 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
Cade Cunningham showed why he will be the 2021 No. 1 pick
Cunningham is the early favorite to go No. 1 overall in the 2021 NBA Draft, and nothing he did in his college debut will put that idea to rest. In fact, with nerves surely in play in his first game for Oklahoma State, it’s practically guaranteed he cleans things up a little around the edges and gets better. Remember, it had been 298 days since Cunningham played his last high school game.
Cunningham missed his first four shots to start the game Wednesday, but he finished the first half with 12 points on 5-for-11 shooting from the floor. Late in the game, he made two clutch free throws to extend the Cowboys’ lead to seven and put the game away.
Cunningham made a couple 3-pointers, showed the ability to get to rim efficiently and he even knocked down a mid-range shot or two. It wasn’t a perfect debut, and Oklahoma State may not be a great team this year. But barring something unforeseen, NBA teams will be racing to tank for the most draft lottery ping pong balls and the opportunity to draft Cunningham.
If we’re being honest, Cunningham would have probably been the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft if he could have (and assuming he had) gone pro right out of high school.