NBA Draft 2011: Enes Kanter Emerges As Most Candid, Confident Draft Prospect
NBA Draft Media Day 2011 took place yesterday, and Bleacher Report was there reporting on a frenetic event where journalists from across the world scratch and claw for any quotes, soundbites and video clips from future NBA draft picks.
Twelve players appeared at the Westin Times Square, spilt into two groups of six, for 30-minute shifts early Wednesday afternoon. Here is the Enes Kanter recap.
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"I have no fear."
Enes Kanter skipped the cliches when answering a reporter's question about any possible reservations he may have about entering the NBA. Those four words represent the draft's ultimate wild card: Watching him for 10 minutes, he seemed like he was on a beach talking with family rather than being pounded with questions in two different languages.
Whether teams at the top of the draft believe in his abilities or not seem to be of no concern to Kanter, though he offered this honest soundbite and many more during his media day session.
Paul Kasabian is an NBA and New York Knicks Featured Columnist. All quotes, unless otherwise noted, were obtained first-hand at NBA Draft Media Day.
Top Three...or One?
Kanter didn't say with more certainty whether teams had given him guarantees at this juncture, but he predicted a "top three" selection in the draft tonight multiple times. With Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams seemingly going one-two, the battle seems to be between Brandon Knight and Enes Kanter for the third selection, as the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
However, Kanter also noted in his cool confidence that he believes he's good enough to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
Me and Kyrie
"If I play with Kyrie, I believe we can make playoffs. I know we can make playoffs."
I believe I was listening to Brandon Knight answer a reporter's bizarre question about whether he thought the Morris twins "freaked him out" when Kanter said this, so that quote is courtesy of the Associated Press.
If Enes Kanter and Kyrie Irving both played full seasons, I believe they would be one-two in the draft, without a doubt. Some may perceive the quote as cocky, but Kanter certainly doesn't come off that way in his interviews. Rather, he seems like a man who knows something no one else does.
One-on-One with Corbin
Speaking of the Jazz, Kanter spoke about his workout in Utah and how he would potentially fit there.
"I like the Jazz, because they're a really good team," Kanter said. "With me I believe I can help them. I played against [Coach Tyrone Corbin] one-on-one, he's tough. I just talked to him; I'll be very good for them...I would love to go to Cleveland too, it doesn't matter."
A coach playing against a prospect one-on-one? Does Coach Corbin get his inspiration from watching too many Kevin Bacon movies?
John Calipari will be present in Enes Kanter's entourage tomorrow night, and Kanter let it be known how important the Kentucky coach's presence is for him.
"It was really important because after I was made ineglible, I talked to him...he said, 'I would like for you to stay part of our family, but if you want if you can stay, but if you want you can leave.' And I just said, 'Coach, I couldn't play for you, but i just want to help you.' And then after that I talked to him, [and he said] , 'So your next job is to make your teammates better.' "
Calipari's reputation is mixed, but his reputation with players who leave his program always seems to be high.
"He's a great coach," Kanter noted. "[Him being there] makes me happy."
X's and O's
Speaking in reference to the Jazz, Kanter noted that he is a center first: "I would love to play center for them. My first position is center, but right now I'm working on my shooting and face-up game."
In Turkish leagues, Kanter played in the low post and did not get to use his range, along with the pick and roll, because of the style of the league (slower than America) and position. If he plays on a faster Western Conference team at the five, Kanter could easily be a 20-10 threat.
Note: Check this recap of Kanter's skills from Jazz broadcaster David Locke.
"If there is a lockout, I would go to Turkey and play for national team, because when I got to national team, I would go and play against Dirk, Gasol and play and get ready for the NBA."
Current Knee Health
"My knees? I don't have any issues, or anything."
Who Is the First Person You Are Hugging When Your Name Is Called?
"My agent, or Calipari, or my dad."
The Next Big Thing
Enes has a 6'8", left-handed brother, Kerem, who plays at prep school in Florida.
On Which Players He'd Like To Face the Most, and How He Thinks He'd Fare
"Dwight or Dirk or Gasol...I will try and do my best."
In Enes Kanter's mind, he'll probably be on the receiving end of pick and rolls all season with Devin Harris after Irving and Williams go one-two, but that remains to be seen. Still, Kanter's confidence, easygoing smile and cool demeanor gave the impression that's he's unfazed by the trials and tribulations of his upcoming professional career. That could bode very well for him when the games actually begin and he starts to deal with actual pressures, or this could all be a facade.
Regardless, Kanter came off very well in his interview sessions as a likable, confident, sure prospect.