September 11, 2010

Will Enes Kanter ever play for Kentucky?

At the College Basketball Roundtable each week, we ask each member of the coverage staff for his opinion about a topic in the sport. We have two questions this week, one today and one Sunday.

TODAY'S QUESTION: The New York Times reported earlier this week that a GM of a professional team in Turkey said Kentucky freshman Enes Kanter received more than $100,000 in cash and benefits from that team. Do you think Kanter ever will suit up for the Wildcats?

David Fox's answer:
The admissions from the general manager for the Turkish team are awfully damning for Kanter. With the sheer amount of money the GM says he paid Kanter -- as a salary, in addition to the extra money he was paid for being a star player -- I can't see the NCAA clearing Kanter to play this season. At the same time, this GM doesn't seem to me to be upstanding simply because he's admitting all this freely. As the report indicates, his team will benefit financially (it will receive a transfer fee) if Kanter can't play at Kentucky and has to return to Europe. The team also is livid Kanter left Turkey. And for how honest the GM claims to be, he refuses to let anyone other than the NCAA inspect the records of payments to Kanter. I doubt Kanter plays, but the situation with the Turkish team is fishy enough that I wouldn't rule it out completely.

Mike Huguenin's answer:
The GM and his team certainly benefit if Kanter never plays for Kentucky, which means there's an ulterior motive to all of this. At the same time, if what the GM says is indeed the case -- that he has given paperwork to the NCAA showing all the benefits Kanter received from the team -- I don't see any way Kanter ever plays for UK or any college team. I guess UK fans looking for a silver lining have this: Kanter was a one-and-done guy anyway, so it's not like the Wildcats are losing a two- or three-year star.

Jason King's answer:
If The New York Times report is true -- if there are indeed documents indicating Kanter received a monthly salary during his career overseas -- I don't think Kanter will play for Kentucky this season. The NCAA's Basketball Focus Group continues to demonstrate how committed it is to cleaning up impropriety in college hoops, and this certainly would fit the bill. It does appear, though, that Kanter's former team is disgruntled and intent on bringing him down. I also found it interesting that officials with that team refused to show The New York Times copies of the documents it allegedly sent to the NCAA. That's why -- to be fair to Kanter -- the NCAA must consider the foreign team's motivation and question its honesty when investigating this issue.

Steve Megargee's answer:
My best guess is we won't see Kanter at all this season. In the report from The New York Times, the general manager of a Turkish pro team is quoted as saying Kanter received more than $100,000 in cash and benefits. Nedim Karakas, the general manager in question, also says in the article that he has sent documentation to the NCAA. If the NCAA is merely going on Karakas' word, maybe there's a chance Kanter does take the floor for Kentucky at some point this season. But if the NCAA does indeed have documentation that backs up Karakas' statement, the case seems pretty cut-and-dried to me. In that case, I can't imagine Kanter ever playing for Kentucky.




 

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