Hitting The Boards

I had an opportunity to watch tape of an AAU game that DeAndre Kane played earlier this summer. It was the first time that I had a chance to see him play since his junior year at Schenley High School when it won the state title.

How DeAndre Kane fits in with Pittsburgh has been the most discussed issue on the boards the past six months. While I commented on the situation, I couldn't discuss Kane because I had not seen him play in more than a year. Now that I've seen at least one game, here are my impressions:

Kane has a very sturdy frame with the room to become more powerful. He has very good length because his arms are long. He doesn't appear to be 6-foot-5, like some sources have reported, but he's probably closer to 6-3. However, I think he is taller than Bradley Wanamaker and probably around the same height as Nasir Robinson or a bit taller. But his arm length make him play much taller.

I don't think he is a great athlete, like Sam Young, Gilbert Brown or Travon Woodall. He isn't especially quick and explosive like Wanamaker, either. But he is a good athlete. He moves pretty well from side to side and has good explosion forward and upward.

Kane can get to the rim, but he isn't a guy that plays over the rim. If he hit a college weight room and had good strength and conditioning training, he could possibly become that type of guy because his frame could hold a lot more power. But, right now, he doesn't appear to be that type of guy.

Offensively, Kane shoots with no hesitation, and he has a beautiful jump shot. He steps into the shot, gets great elevation, consistent form and a really nice touch on the jump shot. His size allows him to find open shots. It's hard to judge his release, but any problems are overcome by his size and willingness to shoot.

While Kane can shoot off the dribble or set, he appeared to be better as a set shooter. I thought the most impressive thing about Kane offensively, even more than his shot, was the use of his body when he was looking for a shot or trying to get to the hoop. He always had body in position and ready to go for a shot on a potential kick out and was always square to the hoop.

And when Kane drove to the hoop, he just knew how to use his body to shield people off of the ball. He has a pretty wide frame and knows how to use it to get by people. It was very impressive. He also wasn't afraid to go through someone either. Also, he really didn't force shots or take any bad ones.

Kane was pretty good going to his right, but I thought he was kind of average going to the left. However, the use of his body helped him go that way, and he wasn't afraid to try to break a defender down. But he always went right, and that won't work against better players for the most part.

Kane was very solid in transition and liked to get out on the break, which would probably fit in good with players like Wanamaker, Robinson, Woodall, Dixon and Brown. He doesn't have point guard instinct and won't be called on to run the point at the college level or beyond, but he can pass. His length allows him to be a solid passer.

Defensively, I think he needs work, but he has some tools. AAU games are not the place to really scout for defensive ability, but at the same time, you can see if a kid has either been schooled well in defense or has defensive potential. I think Kane needs more defensive teaching.

Kane's length allows him to get into passing lanes, which is good, and he has good lateral quickness. He also wasn't afraid to help on weak-side and challenge shots, which is always encouraging and necessary to play at Pitt.

But he got lost out there more than a few times, which is not good. I didn't see effort during every trip, but only on trips where he just scored on the offensive end. I think quick players could give him problems because he just appeared to be the type of kid who loses concentration when he isn't scoring. I think that he can guard the two spot and probably the three when needed. His athletic tools make him better at guarding the two.

I thought his game was similar to Josh Shipp's game. Controlled and solid, but not spectacular. I don't know if he can be that type of player, but I thought that is what his game was like. Maybe a better comparison would be to Gary Forbes, but I think Kane plays a more controlled game.

As far as comparisons to current Pitt players go athletically, he is behind Brown and Wanamaker on the wing, and he doesn't have Robinson's explosive ability going upward. Brown has nearly everything on Kane, except that Kane may be better laterally. Wanamaker has more quickness and explosion, but doesn't have the same length. Kane is a better athlete than Gibbs. I actually think that Gibbs is kind of similar in that he isn't a spectacular athlete, but he has enough to get it done. Kane, however, has 2-3 inches on Gibbs, has the athleticism that comes with it, is longer and has a more powerful body.

In terms of game, Kane is a better shooter than all of these guys except for Gibbs, but Kane's size is a great advantage. And I think he has more of a natural scorer's game. He doesn't handle the ball as well as Wanamaker, Robinson or Gibbs, but he just knows how to use what he has and gets to the hoop well. Wanamaker and Robinson are probably better, but because Kane can scare people with his shot, his drive has more of a surprise element to it and he can catch people off guard. Defensively, he gives way to Brown and Wanamaker, but I think he will eventually be good if he's coachable.

Kane appears to be a player who can come off the bench and light up a scoreboard. I need to see more to make a true projection, but I believe he is the type of guy that will have an adjustment period. He is going to need to adjust to playing against better players and athletes, but he has enough potential to be a good player. For a school like Pitt, it wouldn't hurt to have a kid like this on their roster and maybe they could hit it big with him.

If Kane takes to the coaching and adjusts to the speed of the game, he could just take off as a player. He has a lot of potential. It could happen sooner, rather than later, depending upon how quick of a study he is. If I see him play more often, I can make a more precise prediction, but I liked what I saw and definitely thought there were some real tangible tools and ability present.

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