November 9, 2010

Enes Kanter FAQ

Brett Dawson
UK beat writer

I did a radio interview today during which I was asked one of the many Enes Kanter questions that pop up in my e-mail inbox and when I'm out in Lexington, and it occurred to me that part of the reason I get asked these things so much is that I haven't really provided you a one-stop shop to read what I know (and don't) about Kanter at this point.

In the interest of correcting that oversight, here's a Kanter FAQ:

Q: Why exactly isn't Kanter playing?
His amateur status remains under review by the NCAA, which is examining benefits he received while playing for a pro club, Fenerbahce Ulker, in his native Turkey. For some background on both sides of the issue, you can read this New York Times piece from September with quotes from Fenerbahce's GM, and this Sporting News piece that features an e-mail interview with Kanter's father.

Q: UK opens the season on Friday. Any chance that we'll know the NCAA's ruling on Kanter before then?
I wouldn't expect it. Wouldn't rule it out, either. There's no way of knowing a definitive timetable. This we do know: there's no rule or policy that requires the NCAA to have a decision in place when the season starts.

Q: Is there any chance Kanter won't be eligible at all?
Sure. No outcome in this case should be surprising. The NCAA's decision could be ipacted by factors we're not even aware of. Because neither the NCAA nor UK is discussing it, we simply don't have all the facts.

Q: What's taking so long?
Again, we don't know for sure because of the lack of information from either side. But here's a guess. This is a complicated process. The NCAA seems to have received conflicting information from the Turkish pro club and the Kanter family. Sorting out the facts can't be easy. And this has the potential to be a landmark NCAA ruling, one that will be cited in future cases in which a college basketball program recruits a European player who's played for a club. The NCAA doesn't want to get it wrong.

Q: OK, hypothetically speaking, let's say the NCAA suspends Kanter for 10 games, but it doesn't make the announcement until five games into the season. Would the five games Kanter had already missed count as "time already served" on his suspension?
Almost certainly. That's the general rule at the NCAA, but spokesman Chuck Wynne cautions there are no absolutes. In an e-mail, Wynne -- who was speaking about NCAA cases in general; he can't address Kanter specifically -- wrote:

In most cases, the answer is yes. But every situation is unique. Ultimately, the outcome is based on the specific facts of the situation. Some general reasons why the games wouldn’t count would be something like the student-athlete being academically ineligible to compete or is injured and wouldn’t be available to play to begin with.

Q: What are you hearing about the odds that Kanter will be eligible?
I get this a lot, and the truth is, I'm hearing the same things you're hearing: a lot of speculation. If you see or hear anyone discussing a probable number of games Kanter will have to sit or a date by which this will all be resolved, take it with a grain of salt. The people who have any clue what's going on in this case aren't talking about it. As Matt Jones noted on Kentucky Sports Radio, this is the biggest story around UK basketball right now, and as soon as anyone in the media hears anything authoritative, it's going to spread like wildfire. Trust me, if the NCAA makes a ruling on Kanter, you'll know about it in a hurry.

Q: How good is this guy, anyway?
He's good. I've seen Kanter practice a few times, and he's athletic and skilled. Where I think he'd make the biggest difference for UK is as a rebounder. He's great at it. Offensively, Kanter's being overrated a little, at least based on what I've seen. He's a good player with skills around the basket, and he's a tremendous athlete for a guy his size. But he's still learning to play in the post. Kanter dunks with ferocity and he has a nice shooting touch, but fans expecting a Turkish DeMarcus Cousins are probably going to be disappointed.

Q: Any predictions on what will happen?
Nope. But here's a source you can ask.

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