It may be a while until Kentucky has Kanter
Kentucky re-loaded for the 2009-10 season with another stellar freshman class, including point guard Brandon Knight, wing Doran Lamb and forwards Terrence Jones and Stacey Poole. But John Calipari’s team is still waiting on one more guy: Turkish center Enes Kanter, who still hasn’t been cleared by the NCAA.
So what’s the holdup? According to Kentucky Sports Radio, Kanter’s Turkish club doesn’t want him playing in the U.S. In other words, bitterness.
Kanter played professionally in Europe, which is allowed under NCAA rules if the player was only compensated in expenses, not salary. Yet Fenerbahce Ulker hasn’t provided any documentation on Kanter’s behalf. Neither has the Turkish basketball federation. But I’ll let Matt Jones explain the rest:
The Turkish Federation wants Kanter back and has no interest in helping make Enes eligible to play American college basketball. In fact, they have the exact opposite interest. What Calipari is attempting with Kanter could have long term implications for college and European basketball. If he can bring Kanter to America, make him a Top 5 pick in one year, then the theory goes that other Europeans will follow suit at Kentucky and other American Universities. This can only hurt the European basketball leagues, who have benefitted from having young players who NBA teams want, and potentially will have to buy out of their contracts.
Thus with no incentive to help the NCAA, Kentucky, Kanter or basically anyone not in Turkey, the Turkish Federation is stalling and UK/Kanter are suffering the consequences.
Will the NCAA deem Kanter eligible without that documentation? It seems unlikely. Renardo Sidney played this game most of last season - and he’ll still miss some of this season.
This isn’t a small thing. Kentucky needs Kanter’s size and skill inside or defending its SEC crown and making another deep NCAA tournament run becomes increasingly difficult.