Big, big question. Remember, Kane and Nigel Spikes go down as Donnie Jones recruits. (In fairness, Herrion was very familiar with Kane while he was a Pittsburgh assistant. With good test scores, the Pittsburgh native may have stayed home.)
Of Herrion's recruits, Justin Coleman might have been the best - if he didn't get kicked off the team. Johnny Thomas could have led the Herd to even better things in 2011-12, but he stepped aside with Coleman coming on.
Dennis Tinnon was a good rebounder and a better leader. If Elijah Pittman keeps his head on straight and takes fewer 3-pointers, his senior year looks bright. Goff was much better defensively, overall. D.D. Scarver is a streak shooter who would have been a better full-time sixth man (see: Canty impact).
The rest of the roster is shaky. Tamron Manning and DeVince Boykins gave good shifts late in the season, but still may not be starting material. Jamir Hanner plays at warp speed, but his offensive skills are hit and (very) miss.
JP Kambola played 38 minutes for good reason. Mbao showed he still can't catch an entry pass, and played just 75. Chris Martin could draw an occasional charge, but otherwise was exposed in nonconference play.
There is a parallel of sorts, but a closer look shows it's unfair.
Herrion was still 80-38 in his four seasons at College of Charleston, but his Southern Conference record declined from 13-3 in 2002-03 to 9-6 in 2005-06. On the surface, he seemed to coach better with John Kresse's talent.
Then again, Herrion thought he had good talent when he was unexpectedly fired, and Bobby Cremins went 22-11 in 2006-07 with that talent.
One could wonder at times, particularly when the Herd lost by 37 at Ohio and by 56 at Southern Miss. But the Herd's late victory over Southern Miss dampens that theory, at least.
For one thing, Conference USA will be different, though not always easier. Memphis, the schoolyard bully trying to win its seventh league tournament titles in eight tries, will be gone but Middle Tennessee State and Louisiana Tech are coming aboard, and they're having big seasons. North Carolina-Charlotte is returning to form and a member of the Rick Pitino tree - family that is, son Richard - is coaching at another C-USA newcomer, Florida International.
Old Dominion is thought to be a parallel program to the Herd, but the Monarchs collapsed to a 5-25 record. Gone in midyear was long-time coach Blaine Taylor, whose decline reportedly was abetted by his off-court issues.
But the other teams aren't a pressing issue now. Herrion faces significant turnover with three big men leaving. And then there is the possibility of losing Kane - he came to school as a nonqualifer, but apparently has progressed academically to where he will earn his degree in May.
Would Kane leave as a graduate transfer?
Even Canty has posed doubt on his status, but he seems to be content now. "Wasn't our best season but Ryan Taylor & I [are] beyond ready," he said Wednesday night on his twitter page.
Herrion has to have the program "beyond ready" when November rolls around. He has three years left on his contract, but another 13-19 campaign won't play any better with Herd fans than this one.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com or at twitter.com/dougsmock.