Will DeAndre Kane Hit The Ground Running at Iowa State?Posted by Brian Goodman on October 24th, 2013
Ask any fan of the Big 12 what the key to Iowa State‘s quick turnaround under Fred Hoiberg has been and they will readily tell you that success with transfers has been vital to The Mayor’s success. While “homegrown” talents like Melvin Ejim, Georges Niang, and Tyrus McGee have emerged as key contributors for the Cyclones over the years, a slew of leading players (Royce White and Will Clyburn) and supporting cast members (Korie Lucious, Chris Babb and Anthony Booker) alike have found greener pastures in Ames after moving on from other schools. This season’s team will be no different after Hoiberg brought in five more newcomers from other programs, but none will be more important than Marshall transfer DeAndre Kane. As one of the backcourt leaders for the Cyclones, Kane will play a very important role, but after a rollercoaster tenure with the Thundering Herd, how quickly Kane adapts to his new team will be a huge indicator of Iowa State’s success.
Kane arrived in Ames over the summer with a reputation as a talented scoring guard but with prolonged stretches of ball domination. In all three seasons for Marshall, he absorbed at least 27.9% of his team’s possessions, but failed to post an offensive rating better than the 99.8 he tallied in his sophomore campaign. He had his share of duds, but performances like a 40-point effort in which he played all but one minute of a triple-overtime Conference USA Tournament game in 2012 offered glimpses of what he was capable of doing.
Last season, Kane averaged more than 15 points per contest for the third straight season and doubled his assist average to 7.0 per game, but Marshall checked in at a disappointing 13-19, and an early exit from the Conference USA Tournament sent the Thundering Herd home for good. Marshall coach Tom Herrion and Kane went their separate ways, with the former making it abundantly clear that it was his call. Kane had been recruited under the previous regime and lost a year of eligibility after the NCAA ruled him as a partial academic qualifier in 2009, so while he only played for three seasons, he was on track to graduate in four years and explore his options under the fifth-year transfer rule. After reportedly committing to play for Jamie Dixon in Kane’s hometown of Pittsburgh, he changed course and pledged to Iowa State three weeks later.
Despite losing Clyburn, Lucious, Babb, and Tyrus McGee, Iowa State returns two of its four leading scorers in Ejim and Niang. The Cyclones will lean on Kane to help shoulder the scoring load in the backcourt, especially after Bubu Palo was dismissed from the team, so improving on his 40 percent field-goal percentage and cringe-worthy 52.1 percent clip from the charity stripe will be essential to Iowa State’s success. Kane will also be counted on to help shore up a defense that finished ninth in the 10-team Big 12. He’s plenty capable of doing that, too, after increasing his average number of steals every season in which he’s played.
For his part, Hoiberg has gushed over Kane’s defense in practice, touting him as the Cyclone’s best perimeter defender. Going from a downtrodden Conference USA squad to a team looking to make its third straight NCAA Tournament should provide plenty of incentive for Kane to succeed as a dual threat in his new environment. A challenging non-conference schedule that includes two true road games, a home tilt against national runner-up Michigan, and a trip to Hawai’i for the Diamond Head Classic doesn’t leave much time for Kane to acclimate, so a solid start will be very important to the Cyclones’ postseason prospects.