"I see what they did with Cade Cunningham," Cisse said. "I had to decide whether to go to the NBA or college. I watched a lot of film and saw the way they developed players. That was attractive to me. Coach Mike Boynton has been talking to me for a while now, trying hard. I can tell that he really likes me, and he can give me a chance to develop my game and take it to the next level."
Cisse, a five-star recruit who was the No. 24 player in the ESPN 100 out of high school, was named the American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year after a freshman season in which he averaged 6.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 18.6 minutes per game.
He tested the NBA draft waters and earned an invite to the G League Elite Camp in Chicago but elected to withdraw his name from draft consideration after finishing second at the camp in blocked shots.
"That was a really good experience," Cisse said. "It was surprising to see how much the NBA were encouraging me. People can see how my game has changed. They see the future in me and say they really like me. They want to see more from me, and that's why I need to improve my game.
Cisse measured just under 7 feet, 215 pounds, in Chicago with a 7-4½ wingspan and 9-4 standing reach, elite dimensions comparable to NBA big men such as Capela, Nerlens Noel and Jaxson Hayes. He will be one of the top returning shot-blockers in the college game next season, but Cisse said there is more to his game that he will be able to show after spending the offseason working out in Atlanta at renowned training facility P3.
"Everyone is going to be shocked," Cisse said. "I've been working really hard. My shot has developed. I'm going to be a different person in terms of my movement, court vision, and ability to catch and finish around the rim. I've been working hard on my free throws. I've improved doing a lot of the simple things."
Oklahoma State returns much of its roster from last season, outside of losing projected No. 1 pick Cunningham, including seven of its top eight scorers. That group is headlined by rising junior Avery Anderson III, who flashed star potential at times in the Big 12 last season, and big man Kalib Boone. Rising senior Isaac Likekele will be the leader of the team with his versatile game on both ends of the floor.
The Cowboys found additional firepower from the transfer portal in former five-star recruit Bryce Thompson from Kansas, Texas Tech's Tyreek Smith and Syracuse's Woody Newton, giving them one of the deeper teams in the Big 12 and a candidate for preseason Top 25 consideration with Cisse's addition.
"Our goal is to win the Big 12 conference tournament and the national championship," Cisse said. "Last year I didn't get to go to the NCAA tournament. That's a big goal of mine. I see all the pieces they've got coming back at Oklahoma State. We're going to be really good.
"The coaching staff told me I'm going to keep doing what I do well, but I'm going to be able to get more touches and show I can face up in the post. Coach knows I can shoot a little from midrange. I just need to keep working, develop and help my team win games."
Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service used by NBA, NCAA and international teams.