COLLEGE HOOPS

Huskies Land Elite Level Center From Turkey

Nov 23, 2009, 5:10 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2011, 11:20 am

Enes Kanter, a six-foot-eleven center from Turkey, who plays for Stone Ridge Prep in Simi Valley, CA has committed to UW, according to Scout’s Dave Telep. ZagsBlog confirmed the story also quoting Kanter’s prep coach. According to Telep, Kanter looked at USC and UCLA before deciding on Washington and based his decision on a strong relationship with UW assistant coach Raphael Chillious (who coached him two years ago in the Jordan Brand International Game at Madison Square Garden) and the NBA experience of Coach Lorenzo Romar.

His high school coach at Stone Ridge painted a very bright picture of Enes in the piece.

“He’s an NBA rebounder right now. If he’s touching it he’s getting it. He’s got NBA 3-point range right now. At this tournament we’re playing at, it doesn’t have a college 3-point line. He’s got an NBA line and international line and he’s knocking it down.”

High school coaches always exaggerate when it comes to their kids, but this guy wasn’t the first to believe that the NBA is the place for Kanter. Both NBA Mock Draft sites have Enes in the first round. Kanter is projected to be the #19 pick by NBADraft.net and #12 by Draftexpress.com.

The only part of this equation that is not just a perfect grand slam for Washington Men’s Basketball is the fact that Kanter had overseas “participation” in games that included professionals. He received no money, according numerous sources, including Zagsblog who stated, “Kanter may end up having to sit several games in college, similar to what happened to John Wall of Kentucky and John Riek of Mississippi State”.

Kanter’s team was in Las Vegas this weekend and according to Zagsblog, was still competing there today. ESPN did a report on the event today that identified Kanter along with former Findlay Prep team mate and Texas signee Tristan Thompson as the two top performers at the event.

Kanter came to the USA from Turkey, but was born in Zurich Switzerland. His father is a doctor and he comes from a highly educated family. He chose to come to the US to play college basketball and go to school, rather than play professionally right away as he could have done. He reportedly turned down huge money to come to the US and subsequently UW.

Most feel that he is going to enter the NBA draft after his freshman year, but we have heard that he is interested in getting an education, so he may just not be another “one and done” superstar in the Pac-10. He originally agreed to attend Findlay Prep in Las Vegas NV, but it was reported by FOXSports.com in early September that he left Findlay for Mountain State Academy in West Virginia. He then ended up at Stoneridge Prep for what appears to be academic reasons according to a report in Zagsblog from October 14th.

Though only 17 years old Kanter will be eligible for the 2011 NBA draft and was the MVP of the U18 European Championship. In that event Enes scored 32 points with 25 boards against Serbia in the semis and 35 points, 19 rebounds in the bronze medal game against Lithuania. Scout has Kanter ranked 26th overall, while Rivals has yet to even evaluate him. ESPN has him as the #9 Center in the class of 2010, but not in their top-100.

He is a legend already in basketball circles in Europe. A Turkish play-by-play announcer gave Kanter a great review in a piece in ESPN last summer.

There are quite a few impressive clips on You Tube on Kanter. There is one that shows off a number of his offensive skills. Another clip shows how competitive and unafraid of contact that Enes is. This clip made up of interview footage previewing the semifinal game in the U-18 Championships has some footage of Enes speaking to a journalist in Turkish and some more footage of him on the court. Turkey beat Spain in the quarterfinals and there was a highlight clip from that game.

The cloud of the NCAA though still hangs over this remarkable player’s career at Washington though. This piece from October 8th 2008 states that Enes “celebrated his debut in the Euroleague on Thursday just months after turning down an idea to go to a U.S. high school”.

I did not know about the possibility of Kanter coming to Seattle, but if it’s any consolation neither did anyone else in town to my knowledge. UW’s new assistant coach Raphael Chillious is responsible from all accounts.

Some of our subscribers at Husky Digest have been questioning as to why Raphael is on the staff, as he has never coached at the D1 level and all of his recruiting connections are through his experiences at Nike, overseas (from his tenure in the prep school ranks and on the east coast. It looks like those critics had their questions answered in a big way today.

We had followed the Kanter story in the national recruiting media when he first came to Findlay Prep in NV, but UW were not mentioned in any of the news that came out on the recruiting sites when he first got to the US.

This is huge for UW, but there is apparently some issue as to his amateur status. Knowing Romar, who is very detail oriented, I would tend to believe that it is likely that this issue is a couple game suspension type of situation, like that served by a couple of Huskies a few years ago, as opposed to something bigger.

Local Round Up

Washington’s Quincy Pondexter was mentioned as one of the top players of the week by ESPN. They also mentioned WSU’s Klay Thompson. Mentioned Oregon State in the “Missed opportunity” category and gave a “Shout out” to Seattle U for their startling successes this past week.

In big time recruiting news for Seattle U, we are hearing unconfirmed reports that former Nevada signee, class of 2009 SG Mark McLaughlin, is perhaps going to play at Seattle U. Mark, who was released from his Nevada letter of intent after Mark Fox left the Wolfpack for Georgia, signed with and enrolled but did not play at Baylor after he quit the Bear team.

This would be a huge pick-up for Cameron Dollar if it were to be confirmed by the Mark or the school. Mark is considered by many to be a top level prospect.

Gonzaga escaped with 76-72 win over Colorado in the Maui Classic today. Steven Gray finished with 27 points as GU trailed the Buffalos for most of the game. Matt Bouldin scored 21 and Robert Sacre again was impressive with 10 points and 6 boards. Ellias Harris had 10 boards to go with his 8 points.

UW’s last opponent, SJSU lost to UW, but looked pretty good at times in doing so by ten points. They followed that by laying an egg against Cal Riverside (who features former Zag Larry Gurganious) with 70-66 loss.

Pac-10 Round-up

Stanford’s Scout site did a Pac-10 round-up and power ranking feature that I felt was rather good. The writer is a former Stanford team manager that, other than giving Cal a bit too much of a downgrade for it’s performance in NY this past week (no surprise there) did a good job of writing capsules on each squad.

Percy Allen at the Seattle Times did his weekly Pac-10 power rankings and again picked UW at #1. Percy brings ASU to the #2 spot, which I have to disagree on and continues to place Oregon State last, which I also feel is probably deserved by their actions, but is not where they will finish up in conference play. I guess if power rankings are a measure of who had a good week and not who is actually better, this makes sense.

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Huskies Land Elite Level Center From Turkey