Kanter will stay at Kentucky if asked to sit out a year
The father of Kentucky freshman center Enes Kanter, who is awaiting a final ruling on his eligibility from the NCAA, said he will “guarantee” that if his son is asked to serve a one-year suspension over amateurism issues he will not enter the 2011 NBA Draft and will play college basketball next season.
Dr. Mehmet Kanter, by e-mail, told Sporting News his family “can’t stop hoping” Enes’ eligibility to play for the Wildcats will be approved by the NCAA.
“Enes would do anything to play and help UK, his teammates and fans,” Mehmet Kanter wrote.
“In the last two years, one thing me and Enes never discussed was him being pro. He didn’t mention to me about NBA or draft and I guarantee you as a father – if that’s the NCAA's decision Enes will be a sophomore next year in UK.”
Mississippi State's Renardo Sidney recently returned from what amounted to a suspension of one year plus nine games over amateurism issues.
Enes Kanter is a 6-foot-11 center who played prep school basketball in California last season after spending several years in the Fenerbahce Ulker club system in Istanbul, including part of the 2008-09 season with its senior team in the Turkish Basketball League and Euroleague.
The Kanter family agreed to a finding by the NCAA that Enes had been paid about $30,000 by the club, which the Kanters have insisted was for educational expenses. About $10,000 of that money was never used and sits untouched in a bank account.
The NCAA staff ruled Kanter permanently ineligible on this basis, and he had been through an appeal hearing when the organization announced Auburn quarterback Cam Newton would be permitted to play even though his father admitted to asking for a payment from Mississippi State in order to secure Cam’s commitment. At that point, UK requested that Kanter be allowed to begin the process anew.
“I been saying from beginning of the review there has never been any monetary exchange between Enes and Fenerbahce,” Mehmet Kanter said. “Enes was 16 years old, never had any knowledge about any accounts and everything has been between me and Fenerbahce.”
As the Kanter case has proceeded, Kansas freshman guard Josh Selby was found to have accepted extra benefits worth about $6,000, reportedly from the business manager of an NBA player. He was ordered to repay the money and to sit out a nine-game suspension, which he completed last week.
At the time Enes Kanter was ruled permanently ineligible, a source told Sporting News the Kanter family had offered to repay the $30,000 in question, which Mehmet Kanter confirmed Wednesday.
He said he would repay the $30,000 “if that’s what the NCAA asks me to do regarding gaining Enes' eligibility to play and go to college. I will not hesitate a minute to return everything they find necessary.”
Mehmet Kanter said sitting and waiting to play has been “very tough” on Enes. He was not allowed to practice with the team at the start of official drills, but has been allowed to work with the Wildcats while his appeal is being heard.
“I know he decided to come to USA to be free in making his own decisions regarding his future, which was seeking an education and playing basketball,” Mehmet Kanter said. “So he still is having hard time understanding most of the things happening the last six months. But I think support from UK staff and fans and his teammates is making it easier on him.”