After running the show for the LSU Tigers last season, junior point guard Anthony Hickey will transfer to Oklahoma State and finish his college career as a Cowboy. Luckily for both Hickey and Oklahoma State, the NCAA has approved Hickey’s waiver, which will allow the senior guard to bypass the usual one-year of ineligibility and become active immediately.
After losing Marcus Smart to the NBA Draft and Markel Brown to graduation, the Cowboys’ backcourt depth became unusually sparse. But with the arrival of a proven floor general in Stillwater, the Pokes’ chances of battling the front-runners of the Big 12 will surely increase.
Head coach Travis Ford raved about Hickey’s talent and defense stating, “He could be a game-changer defensively with his quickness, so we really expect him to enhance our defense. He will bring great energy on the court, and is a fierce competitor.”
Yes, all of this is true and Hickey will bring a competitive fire, leadership and toughness the Cowboys will desperately need to replace with Smart out the door. But I’m just not sold that the Cowboys’ most recent addition at guard will be enough to actually give them a chance to compete for a Big 12 Championship. I mentioned earlier that the arrival of Hickey will give the Cowboys a fighting chance against the conference powerhouses, but standing only 5-foot-11 and racking up only 8.4 points per contest last season, I can’t see Hickey being the championship difference at Oklahoma State.
Again, Hickey will bring countless traits that will be key to the Cowboys competing in what was the best conference in college basketball last season, but the shoes of Smart are just too big to fill. If the Cowboys couldn’t win the conference with Smart, it isn’t smart to think they would win it without him.