Turkish basketball sensation Enes Kanter has reportedly spurned the University of Washington, the school for which he’d informally announced an intention to play back in November, for University of Kentucky for the 2010-11 season.
Kanter will reportedly sign a national letter of intent with Kentucky some time this week for next season, making another step in the youngster’s inexorable rise to the top of the basketball world in what has been an incredible year for Kanter.
Last summer, Kanter was the story of the FIBA U18 European Championship tournament, consistently stunning everyone with his consistently dominant play throughout and visibly (scarily) improving with every single match. After putting in a 21 point/18 rebound/four block/three assist game against Spain in the qualifiers (among other ridiculous statistical shows), Kanter capped the competition with an insane 32-point, 25-rebound circus against Team Serbia in the third-place game.
Kanter went on to start a senior year of high school at Findlay College Prep in Henderson, Nevada. Due to eligibility questions in September (more on this below), Kanter landed at Stone Ridge Prep in Simi Valley, California, to finish up this season. Oh yes, he performed wherever he went: In November, Kanter went for a 48-point, 24-rebound game. He reportedly had the attention of some 50 to 60 NCAA schools *before* stating he’d go with Washington and Stone Ridge coach Derryck Thornton was quoted as saying that Kanter is “better right now than anybody in the Pac-10.”
In reporting the (locally) disappointing story, Seattle Post-Intelligencer reportage remarked that “The 6-foot-9 multi-skilled forward will face eligibility challenges wherever he chooses to play. Kanter is also believed to be interested in playing only one year prior to leaving for the NBA.”
Indeed, Kanter may not have much choice vis-à-vis entering the NBA and Kanter’s status with Kentucky is surely on shaky grounds right from the start: University of Washington officials, after all, were concerned about eligibility questions in November, with certain improprieties which may or may have not involved Kanter at Fenerbahçe Ülker thought to be a barrier to his signing with the Huskies for 2010-11. The question of whether Kanter actually played professionally with Fenerbahçe reportedly led to his departure from Findlay Prep in September.