What Does March Madness Upset For OSU Cowboys Mean For Cade Cunningham and His NBA Draft Stock?

Published 03/22/2021, 12:55 AM EDT
Mar 21, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Cade Cunningham (2) moves the ball while defined by Oregon State Beavers guard Zach Reichle (11) and guard Ethan Thompson (5) during the first half in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports


Cade Cunningham just saw his college career all but end in a disappointing way. The OSU Cowboys were shaping up to get an easy bracket after their Round of 32 matchup was the unheralded Oregon State Beavers. If they got past this, they face another underdog story in Loyola-Chicago in the Sweet Sixteen.

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However, none of this worked out for the Cowboys. They were trailing to the Beavers by double digits heading into the second half. While they did fight back, the damage was far too much for the Cowboys to overcome. Despite a 24-point effort from Cade and 16-points from Aver Anderson, the Cowboys shot under 25% from the field all game.

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With the Cowboys joining a whole host of other teams to have been eliminated, Cade Cunningham’s perception as a winner is going to be affected. He has built a strong profile for the NBA Draft and the bracket that the Cowboys were getting seemed to be the perfect platform for the #1 prospect to show his skills off. But what does this elimination mean for his draft stock?

Cade Cunningham: Still the #1 pick?

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Cade Cunningham is definitely secure in his position as a top-three pick. While there is always a chance something unexpected happens to boost someone else’s stock, Cunningham is unlikely to fall much. However, his #1 pick status is definitely in jeopardy because of one man.

Mar 21, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys guard Cade Cunningham (2) reacts during the second half in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament against the Oregon State Beavers at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

Many people have argued that Jalen Suggs of Gonzaga is actually the best prospect in this draft. While more people fall in the Cunningham camp, the Suggs camp isn’t quiet. With the Bulldogs looking to win their first national title and maintain an unbeaten record, Suggs may have some opportunities to show out in a way Cade couldn’t.

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However, it seems unlikely that anyone outside Suggs could make enough of a leap on the draft boards. One could have argued for Texas Longhorns star Greg Brown, but his team has already been sent home. People aren’t holding the Longhorns elimination against Brown and his stock seems secure for now. Considering the hype that is behind Cunningham, he will probably stay the top pick in the 2021 Draft.

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Ishaan Bhattacharya

1510 articles

Ishaan Bhattacharya is an NBA, NCAA Basketball, and Combat Sports writer at EssentiallySports. Currently, Ishaan is pursuing a Post Graduate Degree in Journalism from Xavier's Institute of Communication. Previously, Ishaan has written for The Indian Express, The Quint, Sportskeeda, and WrestleClub.

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