By Rob Gray
AMES — Deconstruct Royce White as a basketball player.
Shrink him down from 6-8, 270 pounds, start him at the point, and let his game evolve from there.
Who do you end up with?
It’s not a stretch to say 6-4, 200-pound DeAndre Kane, a fifth-year senior and first-year Iowa State guard who lacks White’s bulk, but ripples with similar full-court versatility.
“That’s not silly,” Cyclone coach Fred Hoiberg said of the notion of Kane being something of a Royce in reverse. “That’s a good question. He’s certainly capable on any given night of putting up those types of numbers, as was Royce.”
The numbers in question: Triple-doubles.
Kane’s blend of canniness, court feel and sheer athleticism someday could lead to one or more.
It may or may not happen beginning at 8:30 p.m. Friday, when No. 17 ISU (7-0) welcomes No. 23 Iowa (10-1) to a sold-out Hilton Coliseum.
But regardless of his final stat line, Kane’s signature — on both ends of the floor — will be stamped across the ESPNU-televised matchup, forming a 90-foot scrawl that screams “I’m here to win.”
“DeAndre’s a great leader and catalyst for us,” said forward Georges Niang, who’s coming off a 22-point, five-rebound effort in Saturday’s comeback 91-82 overtime win over Northern Iowa. “(He’s) told me on occasion, ‘If you let someone score on you, you should take it personal.’ You know what I mean? That they believe you’re not good enough to guard them. So I think we just take it personal when we go into games and hold each other accountable.”
As seniors, Kane and star forward Melvin Ejim serve as the top in-house accounting firm.
For each, the inventory starts from within — good, bad or indifferent.
“I was playing a terrible half of basketball,” Kane said of his opening 20 minutes against the Panthers. “I was down on myself a little bit. Guys talked to me at halftime saying, ‘We need you to lead us through this game.’ That’s what I did. I went out there and talked and helped the team win. … I don’t care who you’re playing, coming back from 18, that’s pretty rare. It shows a lot about your team, your character.”
The Marshall transfer’s moxie has been molded by 3,469 minutes of hard-nosed college basketball.
He’s never finished a season with less than a 15.1 points per game scoring average — or rebounded the basketball at a better than 5.6 per game clip.
This season, he’s averaging 15.4 points, 8.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists.
And, in case you’re wondering, here’s where Royce White’s numbers stood through seven games with ISU: 14.1 points per game, 10.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists.
Yet the only digits that seem to matter to Kane reside under the letters “W” and “L.”
That 7-0 readout means everything to a player who’s never experienced an NCAA Tournament game, or a rivalry of Cy-Hawk proportions.
“Like I said when I came here, I wanted to be a part of something that’s special,” Kane said. “And i think here we’ve got something that’s special. We’re winning big games. And three of the seven games that we’ve won, we’ve been down — and down late, too. We keep fighting. … We believe in each other.”
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