NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) -Ivan Canete is a name many die-hard SFA fans know. Canete was the player that sunk the game-winning shot over LSU, giving SFA their first-ever win over an opponent from the SEC.
Canete would go on to be a pivotal part of the disruptive defense Kyle Keller implemented that season that took SFA to the NCAA Tournament.
With his eligibility over, Canete left SFA in the spring of 2018. He returned this fall to campus as a student.
He is working on finishing his degree so he can move into coaching. While working towards that goal his former coach, Kyle Keller has brought Canete onto his staff as a student-coach.
“The most important thing here is that Ivan will be able to leave this place with a degree,” Keller said. “That is awesome."
Canete is on the bench with new players and some players that he played with.
“It is a different relationship,” Canete said. “There is some healthy respect there. I am happy to see what they are doing out there with this team.”
Canete etched his name in SFA lore when he hit a shot in the final seconds to give SFA a win over LSU. it was the program’s first win over an SEC team. Canete was on the bench this year when Nathan Bain hit the game winning shot over Duke.
“I was happy for Nate,” Canete said. “For us to play together and then see him do that and everything he has been through it is a great story.”
Coach Keller said he likes the use of student coaches because it can help with connecting to the younger players.
“It is good to have somebody on our staff that can talk to them the way they can accept it versus maybe the way i talk to them sometimes,” Keller said. “Ah that’s just coach. It’s god to hear it from a 23 year old that they can relate to.”
Being around Keller now as a coach has opened Canete’s eye to the game in a different way.
“I can just give guys some tips and help them out a little bit,” Canete said. “I used to do some of the dame things they do and now I see it from a different perspective.”
When asked what has changed the most Canete immediately brought up practices.
“I will say this,” Canete said with a smile. “I think he has gotten a little bit softer. He used to make us run a lot. He doesn’t make them run as much as we did but it is all good. Sometimes I see something and I am like, ‘Man, if we would have done that he would have made us run.’ I also see all the things he does outside of coaching for the game. I see all the appearances he makes in town and all the people on campus he goes and talks to as a representative for the team.”