As reported by Joe Goodman of CBSSports.com, former Marshall men’s basketball star DeAndre Kane is headed to Pitt for his final year. In the end, it’s the best move for him.
He’s a Pittsburgh native who led Schenley High to a Pennsylvania state title as a junior. He’d likely see significant playing time — if not start — right away. And he’d join a Panthers team headed into its first season in the ACC, which is becoming the hands-down best basketball conference in America. It’s miles ahead of either the old or new iteration of Conference USA, so if he wants a professional career, he’ll be trying to prove it among the best hoops talent in the nation.
What’s a little more curious is why the Panthers would bring him in. As our esteemed sports editor Chuck McGill wrote today, Marshall Coach Tom Herrion was a Pitt assistant for three years and close with Panthers Coach Jamie Dixon. Whatever the issues that led to Kane’s surprising exit from Huntington, I’d be stunned if Dixon wasn’t aware of them.
So why could we see a Kane-Pitt marriage? Take a look at the names on Pitt’s roster — or, rather, the names not on it — for the reason.
Guard Tray Woodall, the Panthers’ top player, graduated. Center Steven Adams, a 7-foot project from New Zealand, declared for the NBA Draft after one year. Chances are NBA teams are more interested in the “7-foot” aspect of Adams rather than the “project” aspect. Guard Trey Zeigler, a star at Central Michigan but a reserve guard at Pitt, is transferring again, this time to TCU. And talented junior forward J.J. Moore is reportedly considering a transfer as well.
That’s a whole lotta talent that’s gone or possibly leaving, and I’m not sure a team centered around Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna is going to set the world on fire in the ACC. Pitt had some pretty good talent already joining next season’s roster, but none of those players had proven themselves on a Division I stage. Kane has.
Say what you want about his shooting percentage (bad from 3-point range and atrocious at the free throw line) or his mercurial personality, but he’s still a two-time all-Conference-USA second team pick who dropped 22 points on Memphis at Memphis this past season while finishing ninth in Division I in assists per game. He’s brimming with talent and was a prime target for a team that needed some, especially when it’s walking into its inaugural season in a meat-grinder basketball conference.
The Kane era at Marshall is over. It’ll be interesting to see how he’ll fare in his trip back home.