Samba Kane’s recruiting process took off over the course of the past few weeks. Brad Underwood and the rest of the Illini staff made him a priority and were able to close the deal before any other suitors could get involved. Underwood offered him March 2 and by this past Wednesday night, Kane was on campus for the start of his official visit.
Kane is listed at just under 7-foot, 215 pounds, which would immediately plug some holes on the current team’s roster. He had major interest from schools like Louisville before reclassifying to 2018. The Illini swooped in on Kane, threw him a scholarship, got him on campus, and made their pitch before other programs had the chance to even get involved.
Looking at some of his highlights, it is easy to see why Underwood and Co. wanted to close on Kane fast. He’s new to the game of basketball, having moved to Colorado from Senegal just a few years ago, but his game is growing at a rapid pace.
The way he runs the floor is the first thing that comes to mind from this video. Fast, athletic bigs who can protect the rim, get down to the other end, and throw one down are exactly the types of guys Coach Underwood wants for his system.
The second thing that stands out from this video is Kane’s comfort with the back to the basket. This is a department where the Illini struggle. Leron Black is probably the only player with a respectable low-post skill set. Kane has a soft touch around the rim and even showcased the ability to hit a turnaround, midrange jumper. With the help of Coach Orlando Antigua, Kane has the opportunity to be special. His post moves and basketball I.Q. should continue to blossom as he becomes more accustomed to the game.
Kane doesn’t seem restricted to just inside the paint either. He knocks down a three-point jumper at the end of this video and shows off some decent handles as well. If he can polish his inside game and find a solid stroke from outside, not only does he have the potential to be a defensive menace, but he could wind up being the top matchup on opposing scouting reports.
Kane’s commitment crosses off one of the biggest concerns for the current Illini roster which is a true big man. He has the chance to flourish at Illinois with teammates Ayo Dosunmu, Alan Griffin and Trent Frazier.
Tevian Jones, you’re up next.