Big 12 stars to watch
CADE CUNNINGHAM, OKLAHOMA STATE
Cunningham is as much of a lock to be the top overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft as you can possibly be prior to the start of the college season. A true point guard with enough size and strength to play off the ball, Cunningham is an elite passer with an extremely high basketball IQ. The 6-8, 220-pounder is an aggressive slasher with the length and touch to finish around the rim with ease, yet he looks to set up his teammates and create shots for them first. He’s not a reliable shooter at this point but does everything else on both ends of the court at a very high level with excellent size for his position.
All those things give him tremendous appeal at the NBA level, and his play is the biggest reason why Oklahoma State is projected to have a breakout season. The Cowboys have a talented roster but Cunningham’s star power and ability to elevate everyone else around him that makes him a potentially special prospect.
JARED BUTLER, BAYLOR
One of the driving forces behind Baylor’s dominant 2019-20 campaign was their balance, yet it was Butler who emerged as their best player. A preseason first team All-American, Butler was incredibly efficient while leading the Bears in scoring and averaging over three assists and rebounds per game. And, while Baylor will be deep and balanced again, Butler needs to be great for them to be great. Good thing he’s as reliable as anyone in the conference.