For Kane, basketball's a full-time endeavor
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - You can ask DeAndre Kane to play point guard, shooting guard or whatever, but you have to order him to take a break.
This much we know: Marshall's leading scorer doesn't "tap out" of games.
Kane proved that again Sunday, playing all but 13 seconds of the Thundering Herd's 103-100 double-overtime loss to Hofstra. The junior from Pittsburgh recorded the fourth triple-double in MU history with 33 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and was named player of the week in Conference USA.
He didn't hit the bench until Marshall (2-3) started fouling in the second overtime, and coach Tom Herrion needed somebody else to commit those fouls. When Hofstra went to line, Kane re-entered each time.
Those 50 minutes are not Kane's career high. He sat just 1 minute, 4 seconds in the Herd's 105-100 triple-overtime win over Tulsa in last season's C-USA tournament, the game in which he scored his career-high 40 points.
In that game, he had to share the point guard duties, first after Damier Pitts fouled out in regulation and then when Shaquille Johnson left in the second overtime.
Nowadays, Kane is the starting point guard with Chris Martin getting 26.4 plus minutes a game. Both can and do play at the same time, often serving as a point tandem of sorts.
So when was the last time Kane ran the point in the starting role, or close to it?
"Never," Kane said Tuesday before practice. "I played it two years ago when Pitts was [sidelined] the first eight games. That was the first time."
But Kane has all the elements of being a good point guard - he has been one of the team's best passers since he became eligible in 2010-11, penetrates like few others and he can defend. His assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.8-to-1 could lead the league if he maintains it.
His 8.4 assists per game already lead the league by a good margin, and his 18-point average is tied for fifth.
Kane will try to keep all that up and help the Herd overcome two close losses on a row at 7 p.m. Saturday, when Nevada comes to Cam Henderson Center. Tipoff time is 7 p.m.
The role of Kane and Martin picked up when the NCAA ruled Kareem Canty ineligible as a freshman, so that arrangement is not going away. Kane isn't flinching, and neither are his teammates.
"I was really surprised he was able to pick that up like that," said forward Dennis Tinnon. "Coming off of being a 'two' guard, a straight scorer, being able to lock down the [opposing] point guard and being able to contribute with a lot of assists and everything like that.
"I think it's a good look for Dre. It helps us spread the floor out a lot. Dre can be at the top and be able to create his own plays and make sure somebody else is open."
Those 50 minutes Sunday pushed Kane's average to 38 per game, which begs the question: Can he play that much all season? He did play 34 a year ago, ninth among C-USA players, but still ...
"You've got to be conscious of that, as a coach," Herrion said. "You've got to manage it on preparation week, as well, not just on game night. Which we will, we've done a good job. I didn't expect him to play all 50 the other day - we like to get him some breaks during the game.
"He's a valuable cog like other guys, and a lot of guys are putting some minutes up. We've also been in foul trouble, too."
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.