The Oklahoma State men’s basketball team will begin its season Friday as it will host to Pepperdine University. The game will stand as the beginning of the Mike Boynton era at OSU, as well as new beginnings for several players new to Stillwater.

The Cowboys return a large contingent of players who saw meaningful minutes during the 2016-17 season. However, the departure of leading scorer and overall floor general, Jawun Evans, will put pressure on the entire team to pick up the slack.

The fans know much of what they are getting from the returning players, so who might be a new face that will prove to be crucial to the Pokes’ success throughout the season?

I believe it might be Yankuba Sima, the nearly 7-foot post player who transferred to OSU from St. John’s, but won’t be available until mid-December because of transfer rules. Sima will provide some much needed size to the Cowboy lineup and should see meaningful minutes throughout the season as the Cowboys will likely have to keep a rotation running in the paint, especially once they reach conference play.

Most importantly, Sima should provide the Cowboys with some much needed rim protection. Mitchell Solomon continues to progress, but is still trying to figure out how to play defense without fouling. Lucas N’Guessan seems to be more comfortable on the offensive end, which leaves Cameron McGriff the lone post player who provides some level of protection to the paint. There’s no way that McGriff can play the entirety of the game, so Sima could prove to be a valuable commodity off the bench as a post defender.

The Cowboys will definitely need a newcomer to step up and help fill the hole that Evans made when he left, or at least take some responsibility off of a returning player and allow them to step into a new role.

Sima could just be the man that takes some defensive pressure off the rest of the team and allows them to focus on other aspects of the game.

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