When Jameel McKay announced his transfer from Marquette, it became a pipe dream for Cyclones fans that the lanky forward would end up at Iowa State, which had recruited him the last time around.
There was only one thing working against a McKay-to-ISU pairing, although that one thing was a big something:
$9,600 in out-of-state tuition, not including housing and books.
Or, if McKay's years at Indian Hills counted, $3,324.
"With the different things he can have — loans, pell grants — he was comfortable with it," ISU coach Fred Hoiberg said Monday in reference to McKay's ability to finance a semester's tuition. "That was the big thing. We felt he had to be comfortable with it, him or his mother."
McKay won't be on scholarship until the summertime and won't be eligible until spring of 2015, although the Cyclones could apply for a waiver.
"We'll see," Hoiberg said when asked about a waiver for McKay. "We're weighing all those possibilities right now."
That McKay's reasoning for leaving Marquette was about playing time and style, and not a hardship, and that he was open about that, makes it unlikely he'd be granted a waiver to play until the spring semester of the 2014-15 season.
More from Hoiberg on McKay, whose addition was made official and announced Monday: "The big thing we talked to Jameel was about our system. He fits with how he plays, getting up and down the floor and letting the guys facilitate."
McKay, Hoiberg says, will spend the year off working extensively on his outside game.
"It is what it is," Hoiberg said Monday.
Well, what it is — other than weird — is a heap of weight onto the shoulders of Naz Long and Sherron Dorsey-Walker, who are now Iowa State's scoring options off the bench. Bluford wasn't likely to play much the rest of the season, but his shooting presence off the bench was at the very least a nice emergency option for Hoiberg.
A three-game tournament championship in Hawaii highlighted bench scoring, along with slow starts, as the biggest troubles for undefeated Iowa State. Four of the five starters, minus Matt Thomas, played well in paradise, and that's pretty much it.
Right now, it's enough. Tuesday night, against Northern Illinois, it'll be enough, those four. But eventually the Cyclones are going to need their bench to help them win a game, and right now that's a tough proposition.
As far as conventional stats go, Kane is averaging 14.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, one of three players in the country to achieve a minimum of 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists per game (Kyle Anderson, UCLA; Delon Wright, Utah).
Per kenpom.com, Kane has an assist rate of 31.9, No. 66 nationally, and draws about six fouls per game. He uses 26.3 percent of Iowa State's possessions, third-most on the team and meaning he shoots or turns the ball over to ends 26.3 percent of Iowa State's possessions, and is shooting 54 percent on two-point shots and a surprising 34.6 clip on three-pointers.
At Marshall, Kane never surpassed a three-point percentage of 31.8.
"Poor distance shooter" was the book on Kane entering the season, and he's capitalized on open looks, which he has to take to keep the Cyclones' spacing honest.
"That's their scouting report," Kane said of opposing defenses. "For me, I just go out there and get my teammates open shots. But if teams are gonna continue to lay off me, I'll shoot the ball, whether it goes in or not. I have confidence it'll go in."
Kane made four of six three-point attempts against Boise State and is 5-for-11 from distance since going 0-for-4 against Northern Iowa.