DeAndre Kane was the star of Iowa State’s win over North Carolina to get to the Sweet Sixteen on Sunday, and in a lot of ways he had to be with no Georges Niang by his side. He did a lot of damage in a lot of ways on Sunday, most notably his go ahead bucket with 1.6 seconds to play.
Kane flirted with a triple double with his 24 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists but while every point loomed large, could it be his assists were a bigger key to the Cyclones winning? Perhaps.
See what I mean, here. Going through Kane’s game by game assist numbers you can see his impact on winning when he is creating for teammates. In games with five or more assists the Cyclones are 22-1. When his assist percentage (a measure of possible field goals for him to assist on when adjusted for the fact he can’t get the assist on his own buckets or while he’s on the bench that measures the percentage of times his teammates score from one of his dimes) is at 25% or better the Cyclones are 23-2. When he records an assist to turnover ratio of 1.67 or better Iowa State is 20-1.
Setting up teammates, avoiding the turnovers (despite the fact he had seven against UNC—with three of them being offensive fouls), and spreading out that production he is able to elevate the play of his teammates and win more often than not.
The Resurrection of 3sus
By now we all have a pretty good handle on the legend of Naz Long that continues to grow…and grow. He started the year shooting the three ball at a torrid pace that included an 8/11 performance in the season opener against UNC-Wilmington. That hot stretch continued through his first nine games as we all wondered if it was real to some extent or if sooner or later he would regress to the mean.
The latter seemed to be true through the middle portion of Iowa State’s schedule. Then he was, dare I say, resurrected.
Below is the split of his first nine games, his middle 17 games, and his last nine games. You can see his three point shooting, his points per game, and his point scored per 50 possessions played. Through his first nine games he was at an impressive 53.5% clip from beyond the arc and scoring ten points per games.
Then he slumped, a bit. Over the next 17 games Naz connected just 17 times in 65 three point shots for 26.2% and averaged only 4.2 points per game.
His resurgence started with a 5/7 outing against West Virginia on Ames and his numbers have been unreal since then. A span that even includes an 0/6 in Manhattan against Kansas State. If his ability to knock down the long ball persists his team’s chances to move on through the NCAA Tournament.
The Coach vs The Player
We are nearly through the fourth season of Fred Hoiberg’s coaching life and tenure at Iowa State. There is no question that the overall impact a single person has on a team as a coach is different than that as a player. What’s interesting is that coaches probably have a more wide spread impact than any single player but a player has more of a direct impact on the success of the team.
Hoiberg’s legend is well known as an individual and a player for the Cyclones but given this is his fourth season I thought it would be at least fun and interesting to compare the team’s overall success in his four years playing versus his four years as a coach.
The part that most stands out to me is the conference record. And that was done with an abysmal first season with an extremely thin roster (though partially of his doing). The overall winning percentages is improved, though not drastically, as well.
That is an extremely simple look, but could it be that Fred Hoiberg on the path of being a better coach than player?