All those rumors that dogged Turkish phenom Enes Kanter through his senior year of high school in the U.S. – to the extent that he twice transferred schools when his eligibility was questioned – have blown up into allegations that may threaten his much-anticipated freshman year at University of Kentucky.
Fenerbahçe Ülker GM Nedim Karakas reportedly contacted the New York Times for a story that ran in the Wednesday paper in which he stated that Kanter had received over $100,000 to play in the Turkish team’s system. Karakas has handed over certain financial records to NCAA authorities indicating same.
Though Karakas claims that he is working on the side of truth and justice, he has publicly stated his disappointment with Kanter’s departure from Fenerbahçe last year and the team seeks to gain a hefty transfer fee (not to mention a potential starting power forward) should Kanter be ruled ineligible for American college ball.
School spokesman DeWayne Peevy stated in an email to media that ‘The University of Kentucky is working diligently with the NCAA on this matter and we fully support Enes Kanter and his family through this ongoing NCAA review. We will have no further comment.”
Kanter was last seen playing in America during the Nike Hoop Summit, where he shot 13-of-21 from the floor for 34 points to go with 13 rebounds, breaking the records for field goal attempts, field goals made, and even Dirk Nowitzki’s scoring record of 33 in the game in just 24 minutes of court time against Team USA.
In 2009, Kanter was a man among boys in the FIBA U18 European Championship tournament, putting in a 21 point/18 rebound/four block/three assist game against Spain in the qualifying rounds and capping the competition with an insane 32-point, 25-rebound circus against Team Serbia in the third-place game. For his efforts, Kanter was rewarded with a “Youth Player of the Year” nomination from FIBA for the 2009 season – a trophy ultimately taken by Ricky Rubio.
The excellent Draft Express calls Kanter “a player to keep an eye on moving towards the 2011 draft” and BallinEurope believes, as the most promising big man out of Europe since the Gasol Family came to the NBA, that the Turk is destined to be a lottery pick in 2011 – whether out of Kentucky or Euroleague ball.