Secaucus’ sharpshooter is Citizen Kane

Breaks school record for long-range shooting, has long range plans

When Rich Kane was still an aspiring basketball player, long before he ever put on a Secaucus Patriot uniform, he was instilled with a solid work ethic given to him by his father, Rich, Sr., who was a player during his high school days at St. Joseph of the Palisades and is currently the junior varsity coach at Secaucus.

“When I was young, I was taught that I had to always work hard to get playing time,” the younger Kane said. “So I always tried to shoot 300 shots per day. I would go take shots with my Dad. It was all to help my shooting. When I was younger, I went to basketball camps (like the Kevin Boyle camp and the Bergen Catholic camp) and I would listen to the speeches. They said that if you wanted to be a good shooter, you would have to shoot over and over each day. So that’s what I decided to do.”

So it has been a passion of Kane to improve his perimeter shot. Every single day, regardless of the weather, regardless of the time of year, Kane takes his 300 shots, the way senior citizens take vitamins, the manner in which a postman brings the mail.

“He’ll shoot in all kinds of weather,” Secaucus head boys’ basketball coach Bill Millevoi, Jr. said. “After practice, he goes on his own and shoots. Even after games, he grabs the ball and shoots his shots. He’s just a throwback kind of kid, the All-American kid who just works hard and wants to get better. He just loves the game of basketball. He’s an old-school gym rat. He does everything you want a kid to do.”

When the 2003-04 season tipped off in December, the 6-1 senior Kane found himself in more of a secondary role for the Patriots, averaging about 10 points per game.

“He was only getting about nine or 10 shots per game,” Millevoi said. “We were spreading the ball around more back then.”

“I think we went more inside to start the season and I wasn’t getting a lot of shots,” Kane said. “As the season progressed, I was able to get more involved and open up my game more.”

Then, the Patriots faced Bergen County Scholastic League National Division rival St. Mary’s of Rutherford in a crucial game.

“My father told me that the team was going to need me to step it up a little, score more, take more shots,” Kane said. “So I got a lot of open looks that game and the shots just kept going in.”

Kane scored 23 points in the game against St. Mary’s, a 52-36 victory for the Patriots. It was the beginning of a remarkable turnaround for the sharp shooting senior.

“From that point on, I’ve done pretty well,” Kane said. “I started to feel the shot going in.”

Apparently, so did Kane’s teammates, because they decided to get him the ball more often.

“I think they all realized that the kid can shoot,” Millevoi said. “He’s getting more opportunities and the team is looking to him more. He always shot the ball pretty well, but lately, he’s been shooting the heck out of it.”

Kane sure has. He’s been unconscious lately with his shooting prowess. Last week, in a win over Becton, Kane nailed a school-record nine 3-point field goals en route to a 30-point performance in a 78-39 win. He followed that game up with a 26-point outing in a 62-42 win over North Arlington and scored 18 points in a loss Tuesday to the league’s first-place team, Weehawken.

Over the last six games, Kane is averaging 23 points per game.

For his efforts, Kane has been selected as The Hudson Reporter Athlete of the Week for the past week.

Kane said that part of the reason for his scoring explosion has been confidence.

“Once the confidence is there, they all feel like they’re going in,” said Kane, who is also a member of the Secaucus’ cross country team in the fall. “My teammates understand I have my confidence back and they’re looking for me now. I think we all know our roles now and that’s why we’ve been playing better.”

The Patriots had won six of their last seven games before falling to Weehawken Tuesday afternoon.

“He’s just a pure shooter,” Millevoi said. “He comes off a screen and is able to knock down shots. When he lets go, you can just feel that it’s going in. Now, he’s doing other things to make himself get in better scoring position. He’s taking the extra dribble and getting to the basket more. He’s also getting more open looks off the dribble.”

Kane said that he has always been a good shooter, from his days as a youth basketball player. He gives a lot of credit to his shooting prowess to Dan Waddleton, a former Jersey City basketball legend who played at St. Michael’s of Union City and St. John’s University and has been a volunteer basketball coach in Secaucus for years.

“Mr. Waddleton fixed my shot while working with me and it’s been fine ever since,” Kane said. “He told me that I had a lot of promise. My former JV coach (Tom Lambert) helped me work on my all-around game, like dribbling skills.”

Kane has not only accepted the role of being a scorer, but he’s also taken on the responsibilities of being a team leader.

“We have a few freshmen on the team, and Rich is the one who is showing them what to do,” Millevoi said.

“He’s not afraid to show them what to do. He gets along with everyone and is comfortable in being a leader. He has the fire to do well and doesn’t hesitate to show that to everyone.”

Millevoi said that he’s working with some local colleges to see if he can get Kane into a good basketball program.

“Moravian has shown some interest,” Millevoi said. “So have Ramapo and The College of New Jersey. He definitely wants to play in college and we’re going to try everything to get him there.”

“It’s always been one of my goals, to play at the next level,” Kane said. “I would really love to play in college. I will see what happens later on, but it’s nice to know that some schools are already interested.”

Kane said that he might also pursue the college prep school route and then look for a solid four-year school later on.

While Kane knows he’s improved immensely as a basketball player, especially of late, he also knows that he’s still No. 2 in his own household.

“I’m not able to beat Dad just yet,” Kane said. “He still puts a beating on me. I think I can outshoot him any day, but he’s still better than me. But he was a big influence on me.”

Obviously, a positive influence – evidenced by the way Kane has been burning up the nylon for the Patriots of late. CAPTION


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