It’s no shock to anyone keeping up with the next generation of basketball talent that the name Cade Cunningham is at the top of everyone’s list. The 5-Star recruit from Montverde Academy has been on a tear this season and being top three in his recruiting class is by no means a mistake. As he prepares to take his talents to Stillwater this upcoming fall, people are still trying to figure out, as with every big recruit, is this kid really that dude? As Jay-Z put it, “Men Lie, Women Lie, Numbers Don’t”! So, let’s take a look at the numbers.
Cunningham, a 6-7, 215 lb. guard has the size and skills to put up big numbers and his play supports that. During his six-game stretch at the Nike Peach Jam in Augusta, Georgia, Cunningham put up an impressive stat line logging around 30 minutes per game and averaging over 20 points per game while adding 7 rebounds and 6 assists. He was efficient in his scoring, converting over 70% of his shots while helping to lead his team to the Peach Jam crown. When we talk about efficiency, that requires a deeper dive into the stats and the team at EPLAY provides that. When we look at Cade’s performance, he earned a ESCORE of 168, which speaks to Cade’s talent being above the general pool of competitors. Using 100 as the baseline for the average player, anything that rises about the 150 mark, EPLAY considers that an above average performance. We consider all facets of the game and how things stack up for and against the competition. Considering his production on both ends of the court, Cade has shown his ability to generate instant offense but there was still room to grow on the defensive end. His turnover ratio, while good, could still use work with him being the primary ballhandler for the teams that he plays for.
Fast forward to November and the Dallas Thanksgiving Hoopfest where we see an improved Cunningham, which some wouldn’t believe was possible because he’s already a household name. Even though his body of work during that showcase was only two games, we saw improvement in areas that were concerning. Cunningham and his Montverde team went up against the likes of Dallas Duncanville (currently ranked #17 in the nation) and he didn’t hold back. Even though he averaged a somewhat modest 20 minutes per game (less than his 30 mpg average from over the summer), he averaged around 13 points per game with 6 rebounds and 6 assists. We do see a dip from his summer numbers but there is a turnaround for the positive. We saw a big upswing with Cade on the defensive end, averaging double the number of steals (1.0 during Peach Jam, 2.5 during Dallas Hoopfest) and improving his average with blocks. Another gem was his proficiency as a scorer, coming in converting a very robust 87% of his field goals. When we say Cunningham is a walking bucket, his play during the showcase puts this on full display. We see Cade’s ESCORE almost double in value because of this, coming in at 242, which puts him in an entirely different stratosphere. We saw improvement in almost every statistical category and he even found time to cut down on his turnovers.
If he continues to progress as he continues to play top tier talent, there’s no doubt in my mind that the Cowboy faithful at Oklahoma State will be watching a top 5 pick for the 2021 NBA Draft.