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Projected 2021 draft No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham stars in NCAA debut for Oklahoma State

Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State, NCAA, 2021 NBA Draft

The tankathon can officially begin for Cade Cunningham.

On Wednesday, Cunningham, the 6’8″ point guard who is the presumed No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, made his highly anticipated NCAA debut for Oklahoma State. The star freshman didn’t underwhelm.

In Oklahoma State’s first game of the season—a 75-68 victory over UT Arlington in his Texas hometown—Cunningham flashed the tantalizing flare, skill set and feel that have him universally considered to be the top prospect in college hoops.

He dropped his first college bucket on a pull-up midrange jumper. By the end of his first half as a D-I athlete, he had 12 points and four rebounds.

Overall, Cunningham dropped 21 points on 7-for-16 shooting, and made two of his five 3-point attempts. He also grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out three assists. He was 5-for-7 from the free throw line.

“Solid debut for Cade Cunningham — took on more of a ball-handling, creating role as game progressed,” ESPN’s Jeff Borzello tweeted. “Had the ball in his hands on most big possessions in the second half. Started to grab boards and push. OK State struggled vs. UTA’s zone in general.”

On one possession with the game tied at 49 in the second half, Cunningham smoothly pushed the ball up-court and showed impressive body control for a tricky transition layup.

He displayed those finishing skills earlier in the game, as well.

He also provided a taste of his sense of tempo and elite handle for his size on this silky behind-the-back dribble to create an open layup.

Scouts, analysts, and experts all seem to agree that next year’s draft will feature one of the deepest classes in a while. At the moment, though, there is no doubt who is at the top of the class.