Mike Boynton has extremely high expectations for Oklahoma State basketball after his first year as head coach.
Despite a disappointing NIT quarterfinal loss to Western Kentucky on Wednesday night, Boynton was optimistic about the future for the Cowboys after the game. According to the Tulsa World’s Mark Cooper, Boynton said fans should have high expectations going forward thanks to the foundation his team established this year.
“Some people think our fans are unrealistic. I don’t,” Boynton said. “I want to play on the last Monday of the basketball season. That’s my goal. I want to coach in the final game of the college basketball season. And this team will be the reason that one day we will.”
That’s a major pivot in perspective for Oklahoma State from a year ago.
Boynton was hired after the departure of Brad Underwood, who ditched the Cowboys after one season. Boynton had no previous head coaching experience, and fans and media were pessimistic about the Cowboys’ chances in 2017-2018. Big 12 coaches picked the Cowboys to finish last in the league this year.
Instead, Oklahoma State finished sixth in the conference and had eight wins over NCAA Tournament teams, including two against Big 12 champion Kansas. The Cowboys were controversially passed over for a spot in March Madness, but the fact that they reached a point where missing the tournament was considered a disappointment speaks to the tremendous progress Boynton has made in just a year.
Now he says this season is a step toward even higher aspirations. Reaching a national championship game would be a demanding feat for the Cowboys. The Cowboys haven’t gotten to the title game since 1949 and haven’t been to the Final Four since 2004.
However, they demonstrated incredible improvement this year. If Boynton can keep up that rate of progress, maybe his goal won’t seem so crazy in hindsight. And he’ll look back at this year’s team as the one that started his program on that path.
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