December 1, 2010

Things don't look good for Kentucky basketball player Enes Kanter

The biggest game for the University of Kentucky men's basketball team this week did not happen in Tuesday night's 91-57 throttling of Boston University.

It won't even happen Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C

It is happening in an office on the UK campus, where school officials and Enes Kanter will speak to the NCAA reinstatement committee, appealing an NCAA decision that ruled Kanter permanently ineligible for receiving $33,033 in benefits above his “actual and necessary” expenses from the Turkish club team Fenerbahce in 2008-09.
After what happened to Indiana's Guy-Marc Michel, I don't like his chances.
Here's what Michel did to be ruled ineligible and lose his appeal, the announcement of which came Tuesday night: He went to school.
That's right. Michel enrolled in a French university and took some classes. And that's why he won't be allowed to play NCAA basketball.
We're not talking about signing with an agent. Michel did play on a club team in France and played with some pro players –— but that's allowed now. It was not, however, allowed when he did it, and because he had already enrolled in a French college at the time, his NCAA five-year “clock” started ticking, and that's that.
The committee ruled that by the time he sat out his suspension, his five-year window for playing NCAA basketball from the time when he took his first college course would have closed.
Kanter's situation is entirely different, of course. But the rule violation is just as cut-and-dried. He got money beyond what he was allowed to get.
In the NCAA's eyes, Kanter has been ruled a professional, and that's a tough one to put back into the bottle. We're not talking about getting money from an agent or runner or booster, but actual money for playing basketball.
Kanter likely will argue that he used some of that money to pay for school and didn't use the rest at all.
But if the NCAA isn't going to show any lenience to a kid who enrolled in college early (not to play basketball, mind you, but to actually learn), then I don't see the same committee showing any to a guy who received money from a club team to play basketball, even if he used some of that money to pay for school.
I could be wrong. Predicting what the NCAA is going to do is a little like trying to predict what Charles Barkley is going to say next.
But here's the other part of UK's interior equation. While Big Blue Nation is screaming “Free Enes,” Josh Harrellson, the same one who had his Tweeting privileges revoked by coach John Calipari for voicing displeasure earlier this season, seems to have been set free himself.
I don't know how the senior will fare against the best competition. I do know that against Connecticut, he played his tail off.
And I know that after he had another double-double, 12 points and 11 rebounds against Boston U., Terriers coach Patrick Chambers declared him “perfect for this team. He doesn't need the ball. He doesn't demand it. … He does everything you want a center to do. He plays ball screens great, rebounds the basketball. He's the mother hen out there. You hear him talking the whole time. He covers for everybody.”
So there you have it. The NCAA may or may not grant UK its big man from Turkey. But regardless, the Wildcats will still have their mother hen.

Eric Crawford

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