NCAA News: About Enes Kanter

On Wednesday, the NCAA ruled that University of Kentucky freshman Enes Kanter, a low post big man from Turkey, is “permanently ineligible because he received payment from his Turkish club team prior to his arrival in America. 

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Kanter is a big-time NBA prospect — currently ranked No. 6 on DraftExpress.com’s 2011 mock draft — because of his size and brute strength on the low block. He flashed NBA potential by playing for the World Team at the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit, where he dominated the American big men to the tune of 34 points and 13 rebounds. 

While Kanter showed an excellent motor during the game, his work during practice wasn’t always as dominant. The competitive atmosphere at Kentucky — thanks to another stacked roster this season — is exactly what he needed to develop as a prospect because his physical tools — good size, very strong upper body, good rebounding instincts — are NBA-ready. 

His athleticism isn’t other-worldly, but he would be a much-needed addition to lottery-bound teams like the Toronto Raptors and Detroit Pistons, who lack any semblance of a low-post presence.

While Kentucky plans to appeal the NCAA’s ruling, it’s difficult to envision a scenario where he is allowed to take the court for the Wildcats. The smoke surrounding Kanter has been around for months, and the allegations of improper benefits are very specific and well-documented.

The question for Kanter, then, is what’s next? 

If the appeal fails, he would be better off playing basketball somewhere rather than simply working out on his own, and his talent is such that he will command suitors in the short term. In other words, NCAA ineligibility is merely an unfortunate bump in the road on Kanter’s NBA journey.


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