Looking Back: Isaiah Canaan



From November 11, 2012

Isaiah Canaan is the most decorated player in Murray State history, by a wide margin. And there are those who will tell you he's also the best. Head coach Steve Prohm often refers to Canaan as “perhaps the best player to ever play here.”

Former Murray State All-American Bennie Purcell has seen virtually every player who wore the Blue and Gold over the last 60 years. According to him, “Canaan is one of the two best pure guards to ever play at Murray State, along with Lamont Sleets. There have been other great players at other positions. But as a pure guard, Canaan and Sleets are in a class by themselves.”

And yet, he was a relatively unheralded recruit. Rivals gave him no stars. Scout.com gave him just two stars. But Murray State coaches Billy Kennedy and Steve Prohm knew he was something special.

“Coach Prohm and coach Kennedy did a great job of recruiting me,” Canaan said. “They came to all of my AAU games, came to the school to see me, and came to see me at my grandma's house.

“Coach Prohm came to see me so often that my friends at school knew him by sight. They'd say, 'Isaiah, that man's here to see you again.' They knew he was at school before I did.”

So when Canaan chose Murray State over Tulane, South Alabama, and Arkansas State, Kennedy and Prohm knew they had a steal. And they let Canaan know he should expect to play right away.

“They told me I was going to play but I played even more than I expected,” he said. “All I wanted to do was help the team win. But they kept putting me out there and I learned a little more every time I played. I got better with each practice and with each game I played.”

Canaan certainly didn't lack for confidence. When asked at the beginning of his freshman year who was quicker, him or junior Isacc Miles he said, “I am and he knows it.”

He made a splash right away as he hit 3-of-6 shots and had two steals in the season opener at California, twice taking the ball away from All-America candidate Jerome Randle.