Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Iowa State’s Kane Nearly Played for Gonzo at Seton Hall
NEW YORK –– DeAndre Kane burst out laughing when the question was asked.
The 6-foot-4 Iowa State senior guard was on the podium at Madison Square Garden getting set to take on UConn in the Sweet 16 on Friday…and here came a question about former Seton Hall coach Bobby Gonzalez.
How close did Kane come to playing for Gonzo and how would his career have unfolded differently if he ended up at Seton Hall — where he initially committed in December 2008?
“Oh,” Kane said laughing. “I don’t know, man. I don’t know. That’s a long time ago.”
Kane, now averaging 17.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists for the No. 3-seeded Cyclones, said he didn’t “remember the visit even,” but to this day Gonzalez wonders what it would have been like to coach the explosive guard.
Gonzo already had prolific scorer Jeremy Hazell on the wing out of the Patterson (N.C.) School and it was Hazell and Patterson coach Chris Chaney who first brought the talented Kane to his attention.
“Jeremy and Chris Chaney were the first two people to tell me about the kid,” Gonzalez told SNY.tv by phone. “Jeremy told me, ‘Coach, there’s this kid, a wing guard that they brought into the Patterson School.”
Gonzalez recalls that Chaney told him to come see Kane and he jumped on plane as soon as he could.
“I flew down there and I saw the kid and freakin’ loved him,” Gonzalez said.
“I go, ‘Chris, he’s going to be an NBA player. That kid is going to be in the NBA.’ He just could do some things that you can’t teach. He was strong, He was a slasher. I said, ‘Chris, if we can get him to go with Jeremy we’ll have the best two wings in the Big East.'”
Kane did eventually visit Seton Hall in December 2008 with his father, Calvin, a former basketball player in Pittsburgh who would die in February 2012 after a brain aneurysm. (Kane now wears the No. 50 to honor Calvin, who died at that age.)
In that meeting in 2008, Gonzalez recalls vividly how they committed right there in his office.
“His dad loved me,” Gonzalez said. “We had a mutual friend in Pittsburgh who knew me. The dad came in on the visit. He was a wonderful guy.
“After the visit the dad and the kid were sold. He was like, ‘Bobby, he’s coming, it’s done.’ The father said it and DeAndre said it. The kid was like, ‘Coach I’m coming.”
Chaney confirmed the commitment to SNY.tv at the time.
Looking back, Chaney knows that Kane and Hazell would’ve been a strong tandem, but Kane would’ve been a factor no matter where he went.
“There’s no doubt DeAndre always had that it factor,” Chaney said Thursday by phone. “He’s always been a pretty good student of the game and with his basketball IQ and his toughness, it would’ve worked at any conference at any level.”
Kane never ended up at Seton Hall because he wasn’t academically qualified. Gonzalez said the Seton Hall administration didn’t want to take a risk on the heels of the Michael Glover situation. (Glover enrolled at Seton Hall but never played because of academic issues.)
Gonzalez said the Seton Hall administration told him, “You can take his verbal commitment but we’re not going to let you sign him until we know he’s going to go through the Clearinghouse with the NCAA.”
Kane ended up committing to Marshall in April 2009, while Seton Hall added Jamel Jackson and Ferrakohn Hall in that class.
After three years at Marshall, Kane left for Iowa State.
And things have worked out well for him.
“Being here for Iowa State has been great for me,” Kane said. “It’s probably the funnest year of basketball that I had in a long time. We did a lot of great things this year, but we’re not done yet and we still got a lot of things to accomplish.
“I just think Coach [Fred Hoiberg] giving me a second chance to come somewhere and finish my career was great. I appreciate him for that.”
Kane ended up being one of many what-could-have-been stories for Gonzalez at Seton Hall, Glover, Jarrid Famous and Eugene McCrory being a few of the others.
Pausing for a moment to reflect on what might have been Iowa State assistant Matt Abdelmassih is glad Kane ended up living out his fairytale at with the Cyclones instead of with the Pirates
“Well, then our lives would be different, that’s for sure,” he said. “I’m glad DeAndre entered my life and I’m sure Iowa State University is glad Deandre entered their lives but he’s been unbelievable for us.”
“At the end of the day we’re very fortunate to have that kid on our side.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.