Former Memorial High School basketball standouts Kalib and Keylan Boone are experiencing a summer like they’ve never had before.
Waking up at 5 a.m. every day to be in the weight room by 6 a.m. before attending study hall and class has become their new normal.
Team workouts are also included for the new Oklahoma State players. This is what preparing for Big 12 basketball looks like.
“What excites me about (playing in the Big 12) is I know I’m going to get challenged to become the best player I can be,” Kalib said this week in a phone interview. “I’m going to see the best of the best. The Big 12 is the toughest conference in college for the last few years.”
The start of the college basketball season is months away, but the preparation for these two sports-media majors started when they arrived in Stillwater more than a month ago. Both brothers are diligently preparing themselves, and part of that preparation occurs in the weight room, a place they spent no time in during high school.
“It was very different, especially lifting big stuff,” Keylan said. “It’s not easy, but we’ve gotten used to it. … Waking up early and going, I’m getting more accustomed to it.”
The Boone twins helped Memorial win three consecutive Class 5A state titles and are the winners of the past two All-World Boys Basketball Player of the Year awards. Keylan was the 2019 recipient, and Kalib won in 2018.
Memorial coach Bobby Allison has seen their growth firsthand. Allison recognized their length and raw ability as soon as they set foot in Memorial, but it was about midway through their sophomore year when they started to make major strides toward becoming NCAA Division I talent.
They made it into the top eight of the varsity rotation and were starting by their junior year. Allison said the focus on their basketball careers shifted to a higher level starting in January of their sophomore year when they turned basketball into more than a hobby.
That focus and dedication turned both into 247Sports three-star recruits and allowed them to sign with the Cowboys on Nov. 14, 2018. Allison has kept in contact with both players about once a week and said he believes the OSU coaching staff will help them tap into their full potential.
That starts in the weight room.
“I think the weight room will make (Kalib) and Keylan more confident with the ball,” Allison said. “They can’t get pushed off their spots. I think they’ve got a great strength and conditioning coach down there, and they both realize that is a weakness.”
Part of the challenge for the Boones is learning the new aspects of the game while keeping up with the speed.
“The speed is really the main adjustment,” Kalib said, “because in high school you thought you were going fast, but going to college, fast is like half-speed to them.”
Kalib and Keylan said they have learned a lot this summer. They are embracing the grind and enjoying their introduction to D-I basketball.
They say getting to know their teammates has been a good time for both of them. Much of their time is spent around each other. They eat together, hang out together and do service together. Kalib said he loves the team.
“We do a lot of stuff together,” Kalib said. “We like to joke around, but when it’s time to get on the court, it’s serious and we’re working hard and we’re getting better. The chemistry is great, and I can’t wait to do this for the seniors and to go through this Big 12 ride with them.”
Keylan said OSU coach Mike Boynton hasn’t said anything to them about redshirting, so they are doing all they can to get better and be ready if their number is called.
Kalib said people have been asking him about possible playing time, and his response is always the same. He says it would be a blessing if he plays this season, but if he doesn’t, he’s not worried about it.
“I trust coach Boynton and his system,” Kalib said. “He has a plan for me and my brother. So if I don’t play but my brother does, then I just got to trust it and I’ve just got to work harder because it’s college and it’s not easy.”
Allison has trust the twins have the ability when the time comes. He said Keylan has an unbelievable ability to shoot the ball, and Kalib might have been among the 10 best high school shot-blockers in the country.
They’ll get their shot eventually, but right now, they’re continuing to focus on their 6 a.m. weight-room sessions, class work and team workouts.