Enes Kanter talks Kentucky, Ball Brothers and his brother Kerem | Zagsblog
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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.
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Tuesday / October 19.
  • Enes Kanter talks Kentucky, Ball Brothers and his brother Kerem

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    NEW YORKWith all the hype surrounding Lonzo Ball’s Madison Square Garden debut on Tuesday, Enes Kanter was hardly the main storyline.

    Still, Kanter remains a key reason why the Knicks are 14-13 and flirting with the No. 8 seed in the East. The 6-foot-11 Turkish big man is averaging 13.4 points and 10.3 rebounds.

    He chimed in on several topics before the Knicks 113-109 OT win over the Lakers, including his former Kentucky Wildcats, the Ball Brothers and his own brother, Kerem Kanter, a senior at Xavier.

    **As for Kentucky, Kanter still considers himself a Wildcat even though he never played a game for them because of amateurism issues and the NBA does not officially list him as being from Kentucky.

    “I didn’t leave,” he reiterated Tuesday. “I couldn’t just leave. Coach Cal said, ‘You’re still part of our family,’ so I said ‘OK, I’ll stay'” to work as a student-assistant coach.

    As for this year’s team, currently No. 8 in the AP Poll, Kanter worked out with some of the players over the summer, including freshman big man Nick Richards from The Patrick School.

    “I played with him, he’s an athletic guy,” Kanter said. “I think he’s gonna be good for them.”

    Kanter expects this year’s Wildcats to make a run to at least the Elite Eight.

    “I think they’re going to be Elite Eight, hopefully they’re going to make the Final Four,” he said. “Would be nice to watch them.”


    **Kentucky isn’t the only college team he watches.

    His younger brother, Kerem Kanter, is a 6-10 senior post player for No. 10 Xavier, averaging 8.2 points and 4.0 rebounds.

    He recently went for 17 points in a win over No. 11 Cincinnati and had 20 points and 8 rebounds in a victory over Kent State.

    “I think he can be a pro but there’s a long way to go,” Enes said. “He’s learning the game, he’s got the college experience now. Long way to go but I think he can be pro. I think he’s gonna try the Draft and if the Draft don’t workout i think he’s going to go overseas.”


    **Speaking of brothers, Kanter isn’t sure the whole LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball experiment in Lithuania is going to have a happy ending. The two brothers sat courtside with father Lavar Ball for the Lakers-Knicks game and are due to begin playing in Lithuania in January.

    “I’ve been there before,” Kanter said of Lithuania. “They might not like it there, they will hate it there. You’re leaving Los Angeles going to Lithuania, it might be a little different. Not little, big difference, because European culture, European basketball, it’s not like here, man. It’s like two hours in the morning, two hours in night time, practices and stuff. It’s tough.

    “That’s going to be really tough on the kid.”

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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.