Ejim, who averaged 10.3 points and 6.7 rebounds as a freshman and 9.3 points and 6.7 rebounds as a sophomore, is ideal for the way Hoiberg prefers to play. The Cyclones don't use a center, have no one bigger than 6-9 on the roster and don't play anyone bigger than 6-7. That'd be sophomore Georges Niang, who doesn't really rebound (4.3 per game) and who takes and makes as many 3-pointers as the team's shooting guards.
But it works.
"With our system, the way we like to play is to invert the floor and have guys who are versatile players," Hoiberg said. "Those two guys fit in certainly as much as anybody in the country. They initiate offense in the front court and force the other team's bigs to play away from the basket."
Ejim plays outside-in and can drive to the basket, but a lot of his points around the rim are scored on lobs and putbacks. Niang, who scored 17 points but fouled out in the 102-77 loss against the Mountaineers, can bully defenders and score in the post, but also see the floor and pass out to the team's many shooters. He has 99 assists and 56 turnovers this season.
"There aren't many low block players at all," Hoiberg said. "It's a dying breed. Niang being so crafty down there with such great footwork, he can score and he can get his jump hook off, but he can also open it up for others, which can really help us."
Kane is a twist on what Ejim and Niang do for Iowa State who adds a different layer. He's matched up perfectly in his first and only season with the team because he's an outside player who can play inside. The fifth-year senior, who averages 16.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 6 assists, is big and fast enough to get by point guards and into the paint, but tall and strong enough to play in the post and rebound.
"That's who he is," Hoiberg said. "Even if we had him multiple years, we'd still use him the same way. You have to when you have that type of size at point guard and you have smaller players guarding him. He's a really good playmaker on the block with a really good post game because of his strength. He can force some double teams and really pass it around, which is something we like to do with the players we can surround him with."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymailwv.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.charlestondailymail.com/wvu.