Banned from postseason, Oklahoma State opens season vs. UT Arlington

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Oklahoma State already knew it had a challenge this season filling the void left behind by No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick Cade Cunningham.

Things got much worse for the Cowboys just days before they open their season Tuesday against UT Arlington in Stillwater, Okla.

The NCAA announced it was rejecting Oklahoma State's appeal of a postseason ban levied in 2020 and banning the Cowboys from playing in the 2022 NCAA tournament.

The penalty stems from a violation involving former associate head coach Lamont Evans, which was uncovered by the 2017 FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball. Evans was found to have accepted bribes to steer players from Oklahoma State and South Carolina to certain agents and financial advisers. Evans was subsequently sentenced to three months in prison in June 2019.

Oklahoma State, which went 21-9 and received a No. 4 seed in last season's NCAA tournament, was also placed on three years' probation and lost three scholarships while having several recruiting restrictions imposed by the NCAA Infractions Appeals Committee.

"It's no wonder that nobody trusts (the NCAA)," Oklahoma State coach Mike Boynton said at a press conference. "They don't have to come and do this, and answer questions, and talk to kids, and talk to parents."

The Cowboys lost Cunningham (20.1 points, 6.2 rebounds last season), but return 10 players from last year's roster, including its next eight highest scorers, led by junior guard Avery Anderson III (12.2).

UT Arlington, which is coming off a 13-13 season, made a coaching change this offseason when it promoted longtime assistant Greg Young after former coach Chris Ogden was hired as an assistant coach at the University of Texas.

A 35-year coaching veteran, Young is entering his 13th season overall with the program and directed the Mavericks to a 68-64 comeback win in an exhibition game against Southeastern Oklahoma State on Nov. 1.

"I knew this was going to be a hard game when we scheduled it, and that's why I wanted to play it," Young told reporters after the game.

The Mavericks will feature an experienced roster led by graduate student guard David Azore, who averaged 12.8 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 43.8 percent from 3-point range last season. Third-year sophomore Kaodirichi Akobundu-Ehiogu, a 6-foot-9 forward, is another player to watch.

--Field Level Media