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’s coach at Stoneridge (Calif.) Prep confirmed a report by Scout.com that the 6-9 Turkish big man had made a verbal commitment to Kentucky.
“He did it,” Tank Thornton wrote in a text.
Kanter added on his Facebook status according to BoxofMess.com: “(UK) THE BIG BLUE !!!
The news was first reported by Scout.com.
Kanter initially committed to Washington but then changed his mind last month.
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 his 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. The NCAA currently prohibit players with professional backgrounds from competing on an amateur level in the U.S, but that could change if proposed legislation passes in August.
“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.
“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.”
(Photo courtesy DraftExpress.com)
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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.