2011 NBA Draft: Introducing Enes Kanter, the Kentucky Wildcat That Wasn't
Enes Kanter is projected to go in to the top five, but little is known about him
Enes Kanter, a Turkish-born post player, has been highly thought of as an NBA draft prospect since he announced plans to attend the University of Kentucky.
Kanter played a little high school ball in the United States, but he was mostly inconsistent during that time.
Now, he has been out of organized basketball for over a year since he was ruled ineligible for the entire 2010 season. Kanter was forced to sit out because it was found that he was paid by a Turkish professional team while he was still in his teens.
What we do know is that Kanter is an NBA-ready player physically. He stands 6'11" and weighs 259 pounds. In that sense, he is not your typical European-bred big man.
Kanter has an incredible amount of polish, particularly when you take into account the fact that he is still only 18 years old.
His face-up offensive game is his biggest weapon. He has a variety of moves to get him to the basket and when he gets there, he has the strength to finish with authority. He has great touch on his jump shot and his range extends out to the free throw line and beyond.
Best of all, all signs point to the fact that Kanter is an extremely mature young man who wants to improve and be part of a winning team. For instance, it would have been easy for Kanter to pop off to the media about his suspension, but he refrained and simply spent his time and energy getting ready for the draft.
Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune went a little further about Kanter's level of maturity and drive in one of his recent columns
He spent all year in Lexington attending classes and working as a student assistant coach and working out first with the team and then with coach John Calipari and others to prepare for the draft after he permanently was ruled a professional in January.
Kanter does come with downsides, though.
Most notably, Kanter has some injury issues. He already has a history of troubles with his knee, which is never a good thing with someone so young.
Kanter is a promising player, but I'm not sure that his promise is worth the risk given the red flags around him. A team will be making a huge commitment to a relatively unproven player with some injury issues.
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