2021 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase

Hall Of Fame Showcase: Oklahoma State Headlines Four-Team Field

Hall Of Fame Showcase: Oklahoma State Headlines Four-Team Field

The event will feature Oklahoma State, NC State, Central Connecticut State and UMass Lowell.

Nov 4, 2021 by Briar Napier
Hall Of Fame Showcase: Oklahoma State Headlines Four-Team Field

With pandemic-induced schedule disruption and uncertainty derailing numerous college basketball multi-team events a year ago, 2021-22 hopes to bring a sense of stability to the sport after a year of adjustment.

Those aspirations will be tested for the first time throughout November in early-season tournaments and events. For those playing in the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase, taking place on Nov. 16 and 17, it’ll be a prime chance for the teams within to get the ball rolling.

How To Watch

In a packed two-day doubleheader of college basketball, the event—based at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.—will feature a four-team field of Oklahoma State, NC State, Central Connecticut State and UMass Lowell playing two teams each on a predetermined schedule. Three of the four games will be streamed live on FloSports, with the headliner (NC State vs. Oklahoma State on Nov. 17) being broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

Plan to watch but don’t know what to expect? Below are some breakdowns of the teams and the transfers, freshmen and returners that will make each squad click at Mohegan Sun.

Oklahoma State

Last year’s record: 21-9 overall, 11-7 Big 12 

Reached postseason?: Yes (NCAA Tournament No. 4 seed, lost in second round to No. 12 Oregon State) 

Who’s returning: There’s an obvious name who didn’t return to Stillwater: No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick Cade Cunningham, who became the first Cowboy to be a consensus first team All-American since 1946. But almost all of his supporting cast is back—coach Mike Boynton got 12 (!) players to return—including double-figure junior guard Avery Anderson III and senior guard Isaac Likekele, who actually led OSU in rebounds per game (6.6) last season. Kalib Boone, Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe and Bryce Williams all started at least 14 games last year (along with Anderson and Likekele), helping to make the Cowboys one of the deepest and most experienced teams in their league—and maybe the country.

Freshman to watch: There’s only one freshman listed on the Cowboys’ roster and that’s walk-on guard Brooks Manzer, who’s rarely expected to play. Boynton clearly focused his offseason attention on retaining the core of his tournament team and filling in where it was necessary, especially in the transfer portal. That note makes for a perfect segue into the next section.

Transfers to watch: How do you replace a five-star recruit who bedazzled the country en route to a historic season? You pick up two former five-stars via the transfer portal. Kansas transfer Bryce Thompson and Memphis transfer Moussa Cisse bring high-impact talent right away, with the 6-foot-10 Cisse in particular (1.6 blocks per game in 2020-21) bringing defensive prowess to a team that was one of the worst in the country last year in block percentage (11.1%). Texas Tech transfer Tyreek Smith also joined the party after playing in every game as a bench piece for an 18-11 tournament team. 

When to watch: 

vs. UMass Lowell at 5 p.m. Nov. 16 on FloSports 

vs. NC State at 8 p.m. Nov. 17 on CBS Sports Network

North Carolina State

Last year’s record: 14-11, 9-8 ACC

Reached postseason?: Yes (NIT No. 3 seed, lost in second round to No. 1 Colorado State)

Who’s returning: Jericole Hellems is going to be the veteran that makes this team go. The St. Louis-born senior forward became a stable piece of the Wolfpack’s lineup in 2020-21, reaching double figures (12.9 points per game) in scoring for the first time in his career. Two-time ACC blocks per game leader Manny Bates has long been stuffing shot attempts in the paint, and further refinement in his offensive game (9.8 points per game last year) could turn him into one of the league’s elite big men, easing strain down low after the graduation of dependable forward DJ Funderburk. 

Freshmen to watch: Coach Kevin Keatts’ 2021 class is his best since he came to the helm in Raleigh in 2017, featuring a pair of top-100 four-stars that has NC State within the top-25 best hauls in the country. One of those, 6-9 forward Ernest Ross, averaged a double-double and almost three blocks per game his senior year at the high school level in Florida, a perfect pair with the already-menacing Bates in the post. The other four-star is 6-4 guard Terquavion Smith, North Carolina’s reigning Mr. Basketball, following a 76-2 record and three state titles during his last three years of high school. Throw in three-star point guard Breon Pass, who averaged an eye-popping 32.6 points per game as a senior, and Keatts has a wealth of first-year talent at his disposal.

Transfers to watch: ACC teams have already seen plenty of tape on Virginia transfer Casey Morsell, a 6-3 junior guard who made a total of 16 starts over two seasons in coach Tony Bennett’s elite program while averaging 4.2 points a game. Providence transfer Greg Gantt (4.0 points, 3.1 rebounds per game last year) is the other new addition from the portal, a 6-8 forward and former four-star from North Carolina who is looking to get a fresh start in his new state. 

When to watch: 

vs. Central Connecticut State at 8 p.m. Nov. 16 on FloSports

vs. Oklahoma State at 8 p.m. Nov. 17 on CBS Sports Network

UMass Lowell 

Last year’s record: 11-12, 7-8 America East

Reached postseason?: No

Who’s returning: Those that are back after the River Hawks were a game shy of the NCAA Tournament last season—they lost the America East title game to Hartford—will have to the fill the gaping hole in production left by graduated first team All-Conference guard Obadiah Noel (21.4 points per game). So, who’s up to the task? The obvious answer is probably junior forward Connor Withers (11.4 points, 6.1 rebounds per game), but Lowell had the impressive honor of having two players, guard Anthony Blunt and forward Max Brooks, make the league’s All-Rookie team last year as a potential sign of things to come.

Freshman to watch: There’s just one true freshman on Lowell’s roster, 6-7 forward Ephraim Acquah. He averaged 11.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game in his senior year at Williamsport High School in Maryland. 

Transfers to watch: Five transfers, four of which have experience at Division I programs, joined Pat Duquette’s squad for his ninth season of leading the River Hawks at the D-I level. But perhaps the new face with the most distinguished career is the one that hasn’t played a minute of D-I hoops: Justin Faison. At D-II Elizabeth City State, he averaged 17.1 points per game his junior year in 2019-20, the last season the team played. South Carolina Upstate transfer guard Everette Hammond (11.5 points per game) was also a solid portal pickup.

When to watch: 

vs. Oklahoma State at 5 p.m. Nov. 16 on FloSports

vs. Central Connecticut State at 5 p.m. Nov. 17 on FloSports

Central Connecticut State

Last year’s record: 5-16, 5-13 NEC

Reached postseason?: No

Who’s returning: Six players from now-ousted coach Donyell Marshall’s roster were retained for new coach and CCSU alum Pat Sellers. Unfortunately for Sellers, that didn’t include double-figure scorers Greg Outlaw and Myles Baker. Junior guard Tre Mitchell (9.4 points per game) now becomes the top returner, joined along with fellow backcourt contributors Ian Krishnan (8.8 points) and Nigel Scantlebury (8.2 points, 4.0 assists). 

Freshmen to watch: Eight of the 10 newcomers on CCSU’s roster are freshmen, meaning it’s almost certain some will see action against high-level competition at the Basketball Hall of Fame Showcase. 5-8 point guard Davonte Sweatman averaged 30 points per game in a lone season at the prep school level, prior to that he was a Boston City League All-Star twice in high school. Guard Kyle Rocker and forward Jayden Brown also joined forces at the college level after being teammates at Tilton School in New Hampshire. 

Transfers to watch: There’s two that Sellers nabbed in the portal, with D-II graduate transfer guard Hegel Augustin (21.2 points and 9.7 rebounds per game in 2020-21 for Glenville State) bringing in some much-needed experience and bucket-making. Sellers had to look internationally for his other transfer commit in 6-10 center Arian Dehnavi, a Canadian who averaged nearly a double-double per game his final year playing at the country’s collegiate level.

When to watch: 

vs. NC State at 8 p.m. Nov. 16 on FloSports

vs. UMass Lowell at 5 p.m. Nov. 17 on FloSports