Once it became clear that the Cowboys were back in the recruiting business with scholarships to give, Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford believed the appeal of playing alongside LeBryan Nash could pay dividends.
The first payoff came Monday, when California prep point guard Cezar Guerrero committed to OSU.
Guerrero, one of the top remaining point guards in this class, chose the Cowboys over Oklahoma and Iowa, among others. And coming in with Nash, one of the nation's top recruits, was a factor.
“Having LeBryan Nash a part of the class with him was attractive,” Dinos Trigonis, Guerrero's travel team coach, told Scout.com. “JP Olukemi is a sophomore. He had a good year and is returning.
“He wanted to be in a situation where he didn't feel like he had to carry the load. Not that he can't do that, but he understands at a higher level he can't do everything by himself.”
A 6-foot, 170-pound standout at St. John Bosco High in Bellflower, Calif., Guerrero had made official trips to OSU, OU, Iowa and Western Kentucky and was considering a visit to Miami. More schools tried to enter the picture recently, but Joe Guerrero, who handles his brother's recruitment, told Scout that they valued a deeper relationship with recruiters and doubted that could be accomplished so late in the process.
When OU fired coach Jeff Capel Monday, that took one contender out of the picture.
“With Capel going down,” Trigonis said, “it made the decision a little easier.”
Guerrero ranks among the nation's Top 25 point guards and is a three-star prospect by Scout. He was known as a scorer at St. John Bosco.
OSU's point guard position has been in flux. The Cowboys started the season with Fred Gulley as the starter, before he was sidelined by shoulder surgery. Ray Penn followed and has since indicated he'll transfer, opening up a scholarship. Keiton Page has also played significant minutes at the point, after sliding over from the other guard spot, yet was playing out of position.
Lately, sophomore Reger Dowell has emerged as a candidate to compete for major minutes next season.
Include Guerrero in the mix, too.
The release of junior college forward Karron Johnson from his scholarship commitment leaves OSU with one more spot to fill. Ford and his staff are targeting a big man.