Kaza Keane is in a class by himself. Still, he’s already starting to feel like one of the guys.
Keane, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Canada, is the lone freshman on Illinois State’s basketball team. He played for the Canadian junior national team this summer and didn’t arrive on campus until school started last month.
Yet Keane said he immediately felt comfortable thanks to his new roommate, sophomore guard Johnny Hill.
“Johnny took me right in. The first time I met him he gave me a big hug, introduced me to everybody and took me around campus,” said Keane. “He’s such an open person and great roommate.”
Except for Keane, the other 12 players on the ISU roster have been through college practices before. Muller said Keane is handling the adjustment to his new life like most college freshmen.
“He started off the first few weeks thinking college was awesome, then it got a little harder,” said Muller. “It’s really hard for any incoming freshman when you’re the only one. You’re going through hard times by yourself. The things we are doing now are hard. School gets harder, workouts, conditioning gets harder and your body hurts more.
“All that being said, Kaza is doing great. He’s a great kid, competitive and tough. He’s a talented player. His body hurts in places he didn’t know existed. For all freshmen it’s a shock.”
Keane, who graduated from Christian Faith Center Academy in North Carolina, admits he is tired but vows to fight through it. The mental part is the biggest adjustment, he said.
“You come with a different mentality than high school,” he said. “You’re used to doing it one way and now you come in and change it all up.”
Senior guard Tyler Brown believes Keane is fitting in well.
“We took him in. He feels like a little brother,” said Brown. “He feels comfortable being here with us. That’s a good thing for us. It will get better as the season goes on and practice starts. He’s our point guard and that’s big for us.”
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