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.
Kanter, Harrellson Unable to Reunite on Court at MSG
NEW YORK — Enes Kanter was hoping for a rematch with Josh Harrellson Monday night at Madison Square Garden.
But because Harrellson is sidelined with a fractured right wrist, the two former Kentucky teammates weren’t able to tangle in the Knicks 99-88 victory over the Utah Jazz.
“He was sad because his hand’s broke, so I was kind of sad, too,” Kanter said before the game. “He was doing a really good job and he was really happy to be here.”
Kanter and Harrellson, both 6 feet, 10 inches, were both drafted out of Kentucky a year ago, with Kanter going as the No. 3 overall pick to the Jazz and Harrellson falling into the second round before the Knicks obtained him in a trade with the New Orleans Hornets.
Even though Kanter was ruled ineligible at Kentucky last season because he was deemed by the NCAA to have played professionally in his native Turkey, he practiced and trained with the team all season en route to its Final Four run.
That, in turn, made Harrellson a tougher and better player.
“Oh yeah, in Kentucky, practice was like a war,” Kanter said. “But you know, I think he helped me a lot and I helped him a lot in practices and I’m wishing best for him.”
Despite having to sit out, Kanter called his year at Kentucky “really fun.” Had he been eligible, the Wildcats might have won the first title of John Calipari’s career. Instead, they came up short against Kemba Walker and UConn in the national semifinals.
Even though Harrellson was chosen 42 picks behind Kanter, he was enjoying a slightly more productive season before his injury.
Harrellson is averaging 5.3 points and 4.3 rebounds, while Kanter is posting 5.0 points and 4.9 rebounds.
Kanter, like his former teammates Brandon Knight and DeAndre Liggins — both of whom have come through the Garden this season — Kanter believes this Kentucky team is capable of winning it all this year.
“I think they will because they are a really good team, and they are really a potential team and a really talented team,” he said. “I think they are going to win it all.”
One year after a Kentucky player went No. 3 overall, another Wildcats big man, Anthony Davis, will likely go No. 1 overall.
“He’s really talented,” Kanter said. “He can block shots. He’s just unbelievable on defense, you know?
“I will pick him No. 1, yeah.”
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.