Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Potential New Knight: Dan Kaigler fr. F 6-6 200

When Gannon signs a freshman big man who starred in high school, the skeptic in me always asks the same questions, "Could he be great for Gannon, too, or was he just a man among boys? How will he fare against players his size or taller? How about guys who weigh 30 pounds or more?" With 6-foot-6 forward Dan Kaigler likely to join the Knights (Syracuse.com says he will), I wonder those same questions, but the optimist in me asks one more after watching his senior year highlight tape: "Could we see the return of the Jammermill?"

I implore you to watch the entire 6-minute, 40-second video of Kaigler in action, but if you can't for some reason, then take 15 seconds to check out the steal and thundering slam at the 5-minute mark. Even Darrell Blanton would have admired that one.

Here's my 6-part assessment of Kaigler after watching his highlight tape:
1. Has a good midrange game, shoots an over-his-head jumper that's hard to defend
2. Can also shoot the three with that same smooth stroke
3. Moves easily and controls his body well for a big man
4. He loves to dunk -- who doesn't? -- and gets above the basket with two hands when he goes to the rim
5. Shares the ball when needed, doesn't panic when doubled
6. Would instantly be the best shot blocker on the Gannon team the moment he steps onto the court

If you think I'm overstating point #6, check out this part of Kaigler's highlight reel. I really feel bad for a kid whose shot gets thrown into the curtain on the stage while attempting a layup over the big man.

Point #6 made me think if I was going to say he could be the best shot blocker in a Gannon uniform since ____, whose name would I fill that blank with? The last time a GU player blocked 80 or more shots in a season, MC Hammer was recording his debut album. Kyle Goldcamp had 79 blocks in 2007-08, but I don't think any of us regard him as a big-time shot blocker. John "Shanghai" Matthews (123 blocks in 1985-86, 101 in 1986-87) and Craig Dixon (91 in 1983-84) may be the only Knights I regard as true shot blockers. All that said, I'd like to see someone in maroon and gold who can clean up inside when guards get beat off the dribble.

Here's more info on Kaigler:
* I'll start with the most important fact for longtime GU fans: Former LeMoyne standout Len Rauch was his AAU coach and Jack Rauch, Len's son, was Kaigler's teammate, according to this article. The gist of the article is that Kaigler led his team to an AAU national championship but to me that pales in comparison to knowing that he has connections to my all-time favorite Gannon opponent.(Side note: The resemblance between the senior Rauch and the junior Rauch is uncanny.)
* Averaged 17 points, 12 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks as a senior.
* Kaigler's Bishop Ludden (N.Y.) teams enjoyed unparalled success during his four varsity seasons. Ludden won three straight section championships, two regional championships, and the New York Class A state title in 2012.
* Was an all-Central New York selection for three years.
* Was voted Central New York Player of the Year in a Syracuse.com fan poll. I like that the writer points out the poll attracted 6,000 more voters than the most recent Syracuse mayoral election.
* Led his team with 14 points in his final high school game, a loss in the Class A state tournament regional finals.
* In his team's last win of the season at regionals, he led the way with 19 points and 12 rebounds.the
* Allegedly, this is a video of him scoring his 1,000th career point about halfway through his senior campaign. I couldn't watch the video because it's asking for me to sign in with my Time Warner Cable ID or to order Time Warner cable. That's the opposite of convenient.
* This article does a nice job -- at least a better job than Time Warner -- of giving insight into Kaigler's 1,000th pont.
* Was named All-Central New York player of the year as a junior after averaging 14.5 ppg, 10 rpg, 4 apg, and 2.5 bpg.
* In this early season game from his junior year between "megapowers" Ludden and Jamesville-Dewitt, he led his squad to victory with 21 points.
* Scored 9 points as Bishop Ludden claimed the the sectional championship his junior year.
* Scored 20 points during a loss in the state semifinals as a junior.
* This article from his junior year said Kaigler was being recruited by schools from the DI Patriot League and MAAC. 
* In the sectional title game as a sophomore, he led the Gaelic Knights with 12 points, 12 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots.
* This article talks about Kaigler and a teammate competing to see who had the most dunks their sophomore season. I did that same thing with a teammate when I was in high school. It was a tie. In fact, I could have that same competition with Danny Devito over the span or our entire lives, and we'd tie at zero.
* There are some great quotes about Kaigler in this 2012 article and video from cnycentral.com. Just a sophomore, it was great to hear his coach say, "He just won an Ace leadership award through the school, so Dan has it in perspective of getting the academics first and athletics second."
* Geez -- the state legislature can really make winning a state championship seem boring.
* This link takes to you a MaxPreps page on Kaigler. It includes lots of photos and lists him as the #23 prospect in New York.
* For even more photos of Kaigler in action, follow this Syracuse.com link.
* Here's a quick 2013 TV studio interview with Kaigler, his coach and his teammates.

Bonus material for fans who read this entire post: I came across some recent rec league footage of Darrell Blanton. He's turning roller rinks and playgrounds into the Jammermill!


  1. Wow, this guy is unreal and Jammerlific! Thanks for the videos. And thanks for the Darrell Blanton highlight reel. Holy jumping jams, Batman! Can the new AD bring him back for a halftime show?