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.
Enes Kanter, the 6-foot-10 Turkish star who initially committed to Washington, has decided to open it up and consider other schools, according to Scout.com.
Calls to Tank Thornton, Kanter’s coach at Simi Valley (Calif.) Stoneridge Prep, were not immediately returned Tuesday night.
The Scout story listed Syracuse, Florida State and Kentucky as three schools Kanter was considering, but a source close to the Syracuse program said he wasn’t familiar with the recruitment.
Kanter initially chose Washington over Indiana, UNLV, USC and UCLA back in November.
He recently dropped 50 points and 20 boards in a game, according to Scout.
Thornton told the Seattle Times that he hadn’t heard from the Washington staff in some time.
“I’m not saying that he won’t [sign with them],” Thornton told the Times. “I just haven’t heard from them. I know he likes Washington. Maybe I’m confused. They could be calling him directly or calling his parents. I don’t know. They had a relationship with the kid before I entered the picture. So maybe that’s it. But I haven’t seen them or heard from them. [Kanter] doesn’t seem to be worried about it.”
Asked if other schools were recruiting Kanter, Thornton told the Times: “I would.”
Thornton also told the Times Kanter doesn’t plan to enter 2010 NBA Draft and is going to college next season.
“He’s a very advanced young big man for his age,” ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla told me in November. “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.”
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 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 Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.