For the second time in just over a week, Murray State fans can breathe
again. With head coach Steve Prohm announcing his intentions to remain
a Racer on March 26, star point guard Isaiah Canaan followed suit
yesterday afternoon, bypassing the NBA Draft for a final go round in
the collegiate ranks.
That said, in many ways, yesterday’s announcement started taking shape
with Prohm’s decision.
“(Coach Prohm coming back) played a big role,” Canaan said, “I can't
lie. If he had left, then there was a good possibility I was gone
also. With him staying, I feel comfortable about me trying to come
back and giving him one more year because he believed in me. I want to
try and get back and help him the best way I can and with me staying,
I feel like I can do that.”
He’ll get that chance soon. With a roster that will look very similar
to the ones fans are used to seeing, he’ll have his work cut out for
him in his quest for a fourth straight conference championship.
Though the Racers do say goodbye to three seniors in fan favorites
Ivan Aska, Donte Poole and Jewuan Long, they welcome a five-player
class that includes some much needed size with three forwards 6-foot-7
or taller. Canaan will be expected to lead and position that team for
an even deeper NCAA tournament run.
As for what the NBA scouts advised him to work on, Canaan mentioned a
couple of things but noted that for the most part, they loved how his
game looks right now.
“Getting feedback from them, they love my game,” he said with a smile.
“They said I can work on alot of my midrange game, pull ups here and
there, finding the open guys and some of my decision making. Those are
the areas that they said, but overall, they really loved how I
That was evident with the projection he was given. Slated to come off
the board anywhere between 25 to 40 in this year’s draft had he
declared, Canaan noted that now the goal is to get better. If he does,
he says the lottery could be a possibility next summer.
“They felt like that me coming back I could be lock for a first round
pick next year,” he said. “so I felt like taking that in with all
these camps and a whole nother season with good players, I could help
my stock. A lot of people that might not have thought I was a
legitimate first round pick, they'll know that next year. When you
talk about money wise, the first round is always guaranteed money and
seven, six figure contracts. With me coming back and possibly being a
lottery pick next year, you always take those into mind (but) I want
to come back and try to win another ring and make another run in the
NCAA tournament. I felt like me staying was the right thing to do and
I could get my degree so I can kill a lot of birds with one stone.”
Still, after averaging 19 points per game and shooting 45.6 percent
from 3-point range, good for third in the nation among players with at
least 200 attempts from beyond the arc, how much more can the reigning
OVC Player of the Year do to prove himself?
Murray State fans will find out.
“I'll never be satisfied with my game,” Canaan said. “I'm going to
work on all aspects of my game and try to better myself as a player
The Associated Press also contributed to this report.