Kingfisher point guard Bijan Cortes' meteoric rise leads to signing with Sooners: 'I'm just really blessed'
KINGFISHER — Bijan Cortes remembers nearly every detail of the slam dunk.
The Broken Arrow defender first broke from his stance, choosing to stand nearly entirely upright for a split second.
That was all Cortes needed.
Kingfisher’s star point guard quickly exploded past the defender. In a matter of moments, he soared to the rim and unleashed a ferocious one-handed dunk over another defender.
The moment from a 2019 preseason scrimmage went viral.
“That was probably the best one I’ve had, honestly,” Cortes said.
It was the dunk that really announced Cortes’ skill to the state and to the college basketball world.
More than a year later, Cortes is known for his highlight-reel jams, strong passing and athleticism. He’s also known officially as a future Sooner.
He signed his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday to play next season at OU, completing a meteoric rise in a small community 72 miles from Lloyd Noble Center that has become an epicenter of basketball in the state.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” Cortes said. “I’m just excited, honestly.
“They made me a priority. It felt like family down there.”
The 6-foot-3 Cortes has been instrumental in Kingfisher’s rise to an elite level in the state. The Yellowjackets have made the state tournament each season with Cortes and fellow senior Matthew Stone, who signed with North Texas. Kingfisher made back-to-back state title games in 2018-19, winning once.
Last season, Cortes averaged 21.9 points, 5.8 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 steals last season. He was a member of The Oklahoman's Super 5 and Little All-City teams. He’s a three-star recruit and top-25 point guard on 247Sports.com.
“People love to be on his team,” Kingfisher coach Jared Reese said. “People can’t stay in front of him and he loves to pass. Anybody that can play basketball at all wants him as a teammate. He makes the game a lot easier for them.”
Those abilities and a strong value system fit well into OU coach Lon Kruger’s system.
“We’re always looking for quality character, high ethics, self-starters, guys that are good teammates and obviously the basketball skill,” Kruger said. “Bijan checks all those boxes.
“I think he’s a guy that really wanted to be Sooner. That helps a lot, too.”
Cortes said a big reason he picked the Sooners was because of Kruger’s success with developing guards. OU landed two on Wednesday — Cortes and four-star Waxahachie, Texas, native CJ Noland.
Kruger first watched Cortes as a sophomore. Cortes had good instincts and leadership qualities, but was raw. As a junior, he improved his shooting. Entering this season, he’s bulked up.
And he brings a ton of excitement into the season.
Kingfisher has had a tremendous run of star athletes.
Curtis Lofton and Jace Sternberger made it to the NFL. Jett Sternberger and Trey Green were basketball stars who recently made it to the Division II collegiate level.
But none have reached the level of the Big 12 like Cortes.
“I’m just really blessed, honestly,” Cortes said. “Just actually getting the work in and actually getting here is kinda crazy to me.”
Cortes and the Yellowjackets have officially arrived.
“It’s really exciting because when you’re coaching these guys I’ve had guys in the past that I thought maybe should have been at that level,” Reese said. “And maybe sometimes at a smaller school you don’t get the looks that you think they deserve.
“It’s nice to break through that threshold.”