Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
The Enes Kanter Sweepstakes is over.
Kanter, a 6-foot-10 Turkish citizen born in Zurich, Switzerland who now plays for Stoneridge (Calif.) Prep, has verbally committed to the University of Washington. He chose UW over Indiana, UNLV, USC and UCLA without having seen the campus.
“Yes, [Sunday] night,” Stoneridge coach Tank Thornton said.
“They’ve been on him. They’ve seen all the practices and the kid wanted to sign. He wanted to go somewhere.”
Kanter has a strong relationship with UW assistant Raphael Chillious, who coached him two years ago in the Jordan Brand International Game at Madison Square Garden.
Most recently, Kanter poured in 48 points and grabbed 24 rebounds in a game for Stoneridge against Impact Florida. He averaged 36 and 20 over five games at the Impact Tournament in Las Vegas.
“He’s a very advanced young big man for his age,” ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla said by phone. “He’s got a nice combination of size, physicality and skill level. While he is an inside player first, he has the ability to play away from the basket and beat bigs off the dribble.”
The story was first reported by Dave Telep of Scout.
Kanter is now at his third high school this year. Findlay (Nev.) Prep and Beckley (West Va.) Mountain State – and a slew of colleges — have been scared off by Kanter’s professional background, which has sparked the interest of the NCAA.
Kanter grew up playing for Turkish club Fenerbahçe Ülker’s youth teams. Last fall he made his pro debut in the Turkish Basketball League and later played in the Euroleague
“Fenerbahçe, they stuck him in like eight or nine games just to screw with his eligibility because they’re ruthless,” an industry source said. “European clubs don’t want their kids coming him to America.”
Multiple sources said Kanter didn’t take any money for his appearances, but the NCAA prohibits players with professional backgrounds from competing on an amateur level in the U.S.
“At the end of the day, he didn’t do anything wrong,” Mountain State coach Rodney Crawford said. “He himself didn’t break any rules or break any laws. Now the NCAA, that’s up to them to decide.
“The issue was him playing professionally, which is true, but is not true.”
Kanter may end up having to sit several games in college, similar to what happened to John Wall of Kentucky and John Riek of Mississippi State.
Kanter, 17, was named Most Valuable Player of the 2009 U18 European Championship in Metz, France.
He averaged 18.6 points and a tournament-best 16.4 rebounds in leading his team to a bronze medal.
Kanter went for 32 points and 25 rebounds in a semifinal loss to Serbia before bouncing back and going for 35 points and 19 rebounds in a 95-74 win over Lithuania in the bronze medal game.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.