Devontae Lane has been diligent. He hasn’t rushed anything. He’s waited and wondered, taking his time to make a college decision.
And now he’s getting close.
One of Iowa’s best all-around athletes, Lane helped lead Iowa City West basketball to a state title this year, and he nearly did the same with its football team. He’s taking the junior college route, and he could play either sport at the next level.
Lane seemed a sure-fire basketball recruit this offseason. Success in football changed that mindset a bit in the fall, but it appears the needle has swung back toward hoops.
“I’m leaning toward basketball, mostly,” Lane said Wednesday night after scoring 15 points in the Eastern Iowa All-Star Game at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids.
Lane said he’s considering Kirkwood, Indian Hills and Des Moines Area Community College for basketball. He’s set to visit DMACC this weekend, and he wants to get Kirkwood and Indian Hills visits lined up soon. All three schools are very much in contention.
“I’m just going to take my time and make sure I don’t make the wrong decision and regret my decision,” he said.
The 6-foot-1 senior guard averaged 14.9 points, 4.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 3.1 steals and just 1.6 turnovers this season for West.
Indian Hills is a juco basketball powerhouse in Ottumwa. The Falcons advanced to their second National Junior College Athletic Association Division I tournament in three years this season, finishing 29-5 and losing in the first round to Monroe College of New York. Eleven players from the 2015-16 roster transferred to a D-I program, including Baylor’s Nuni Omot and Providence’s Emmitt Holt.
Kirkwood won the NJCAA Division II national title last season. This year, it finished 25-7 with a loss to Southwestern in the Region XI finals. Five Kirkwood players have transferred to D-I programs in the past three years, including Northern Iowa’s Jordan Ashton (who initially transferred to Iowa State) and Hunter Rhodes, who led Kirkwood last year with 12.6 points per game.
DMACC advanced to its second consecutive NJCAA D-II tournament this year, where it lost in the Region XI quarterfinals to Ellsworth and finished 15-16. Eight DMACC players have transferred to D-I programs in the past three years.
“What’s going to be the best for me — basketball-wise, education-wise,” Lane said of the influences on his decision-making. “Just people who are going to make me feel comfortable.”
Lane also said he’s considering football at Iowa Western, a gridiron juco force along the Nebraska border in Council Bluffs. Lane rushed the ball 122 times for 793 yards and 11 touchdowns for West this year. He also caught 29 passes for 234 yards and six touchdowns, and he picked off six passes. He was named to the Des Moines Register’s All-Iowa Class 4A team as a defensive back.
“My only advice to him,” West basketball coach Steve Bergman said, “is, in college, it becomes more of a job. So make sure you’re doing whichever (sport) is the most fun for you.”
It looks like that’ll be basketball. But things could change, and that’s OK with Lane. The state of mind dates to before signing day in February, when he had a football offer from Eastern Michigan on the table. Lane has eased into the process by high school terms.
Different month, same attitude.
“I’m calm,” Lane said Wednesday. “If you overthink things, you end up making the wrong decision. So you’ve just got to stay patient.”
Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.