Eamonn Brennan of espn.com’s college basketball blog isn’t totally, absolutely, don’t-look-back, certainly ready to buy Enes Kanter’s father promise to Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News that his son will play college basketball at UK next year if the NCAA can find it in its heart to reduce “permanent ineligible” to a one-year suspension.
Another problem is that we have to take Mehmet Kanter at his word. I don’t mean to cast aspersions; I’m sure Mehmet Kanter is a very trustworthy guy. But how often do college prospects and their families insist they’re returning for another year of school before eventually deciding to leave for the NBA? It happens all the time. It doesn’t mean such players are liars; it just means they’re smart enough (or dumb enough, depending on the player) to revise their beliefs in the face of a wildly alluring future. Kanter’s future, given his status as a likely top-five pick in next year’s NBA draft, is more alluring than most.
Finally, the NCAA doesn’t care what Mehmet Kanter’s father says. The point is worth no small measure of emphasis. All the NCAA cares about is whether Kanter was paid as a professional before he arrived at college. According to its initial finding, he was. Barring a reversal brought on by Kentucky’s “new information,” Kanter will still be considered a pro. That will be that.
My take: I don’t think Mr. Kanter’s “guarantee” will have any bearing on the NCAA decision. At the end of the day, it still comes down to the fact that Kanter received money above and beyond reasonable expenses for playing basketball. To me, it’s going to be tough for the NCAA to come off that stance. Anything’s possible. But it’s going to be tough.