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The Enes Kanter silver lining?


For what seems like an eternity now, we’ve waited and waited and waited some morefor the NCAA to determine if Enes Kanter will play for Kentucky this season.  The Cats have endured one ruling, filed an appeal and, now, await the NCAA’s findings on the “new information” submitted to them over a month ago.  For Kentucky fans, it’s been a daily battle waged on the F5 key and growing frustration with an organization that has found itself under fire lately.  But, is there some good to be found in the waiting game?

It’s tough to look at the performance of Josh Harrellson and not think that there’s at least a little silver lining.  You’re very aware of all the ways that Jorts has blossomed in his first season as a starter, so I’ll spare you all (or at least most) of that rambling.  But, where would he (and the team) be at this point had Kanter been able to play?  The record might be a game or two better, but, at this point, 12-2 is about as good as anyone had expected.  Kanter would likely be getting about 30 minutes per game and serve as the focal point of the offense.  Harrellson’s Twitter fiasco and subsequent development might not have occurred as backup player.  Doron Lamb might not have had the chance to grow offensively with, you could presume, less dribble-drive getting him open looks.  Would Terrence Jones have blossomed into an All-American player early in the year?  Tough to say.  It’s all speculation anyway and we can leave that up to a certain curmudgeon beat writer.

But, what you can say confidently at this point is that this team has grown by leaps and bounds.  Think back to beginning of the year.  Kentucky wasn’t just touted as a team that would struggle with their rebounding and their depth, they were a team that was going to be majorly exposed by it.  There weren’t enough big bodies around and the ones that were in uniform weren’t nearly talented enough.  It was in every magazine and on every website.  Kentucky was deficient in the post and it would keep them from being a legitimate contender for the national championship.  The notion that the inside presence of Josh Harrellson and Terrence Jones could not only develop into a strong suit, but also, arguably, the team’s most consistent trait, was a goofy one.  Yet, fourteen games into the season, here we are.  They’re the best rebounding duo since 1971-72 and have not been overmatched by a frontcourt yet.

It’s not as crazy to think now as it was in the preseason that Kentucky could make a run to the Final Four.  They’ve developed an inside presence and a fluid offense that wasn’t supposed to be present without Kanter.  You won’t find most people putting them in their top two or three teams, but nearly everyone would agree that this team could find a six-game run in themselves in the spring.  Think back to the preseason again.  Crazy, huh?  It all goes back to that development from the guys who weren’t supposed to be major factors.

Of course, the difference in having a player like Kanter is a major one, no doubt, and I’m not trying to say that adding him would simply be a luxury.  Guys with that type of talent aren’t luxuries or the icing on the cake.  They’re difference makers.  But, it doesn’t seem to be an isane notion to think that this team, having not had him available, is better suited to make a run should he return than they would have been if he had played from the outset.  When he was ruled ineligible, the accountability and responsibility of every player on the roster drastically increased.  To this point, their play seems to indicate that they’ve responded positively.  So, maybe the NCAA is doing us a solid.  Maybe?

But the NCAA still sucks.  #FreeEnes  #EternalOptimism

Article written by Thomas Beisner

65 Comments for The Enes Kanter silver lining?

  1. BPsycho
    1:23 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    Free Enes!

  2. Snozz
    1:23 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    Here is another recruit we can get from WA…
    The next Pistol Pete?

  3. uklaw95
    1:24 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

  4. thsbballpro32
    1:25 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    Can you please use spell check? Doesn’t your browser automatically flag misspelled words?

  5. Don
    1:26 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    “So, maybe the NCAA is doing us a solid. Maybe?”

    Negative Ghostrider.

    Enes’ is leaving his mark all over this team anyway. He may be the reason we are seeing the growth from Josh both directly in practice and indirectly by being absent on the game floor.

    Having Enes makes us a solid 7 deep, and a scarey team to deal with. I’m happy for Josh at this point, but not 100% “all in” on him turning the corner with his game. Let’s see him vs. a decent athlete at his position first.

  6. Thomas Beisner
    1:27 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    4, oh wise one, please correct it

  7. Thomas Beisner
    1:27 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    And then proceed to suck it.

  8. David Shelton
    1:28 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    If Kanter ever returns, I say play him and Jorts together and banish Jones and Miller to the bench.

  9. thsbballproisanal
    1:32 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    hey #4, he can spell morefor, and responsibilty anyway he wants. if you don’t like it, leave it

  10. Dukies feel inferior
    1:33 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    Stop saing “might” be able to make a Final Four run. I have to see a team that I think is better than us. We can shoot with ANYONE, our defense is MUCH better than last year’s, and we turn the ball over MUCH less than last year. I would argue that this team is better than last years’ and will do better in the tourney. We don’t have streak shooters. We have a BUNCH of good shooters who consistently get several threes a game. Our D gets better and better, rebounding is a strength.

    Last year Wall and Bledsoe were streaky shooters, turned the ball over a lot, and Bledsoe got beat to the basket 4-5 times a GAME for easy lay ups. That is not the case with this team. I have yet to see a team that scares me.

    The biggest worry? The SEC is so BAD, that it might not make us tourney ready come March. Is there a worse basketball conference in the US? Cal will be wishing he was back in C-USA.

  11. T.J.
    1:33 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    And if my aunt had nuts, she’d be my uncle.

  12. GoodLord
    1:35 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    7.) Careful Beez, he may actually take you up on that.

  13. Jortaholic on weekends
    1:36 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    If Enes is cleared in the next few weeks, is there any chance he comes back so he can get a full season under his belt? NBA lockout or just angry and wanting to display his rawness. Kanter, Davis, Kiltjer, Teague, Knight would be huge up front with Lamb, Liggins, Gilchrist Miller and Harrellson subbing in 5 at a time to finish off big runs. Just Wishing, but who knows?

  14. NKY_UK_fan
    1:37 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    8. Thank God you aren’t a coach

  15. roy williams
    1:38 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    dont delete my coments please. not my fault my beanpole center dominated UK’s frontline.

  16. Ah Foot
    1:39 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

  17. Ciggy
    1:40 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    kara was decent at calling it, but I HATE women calling MEN’s sports…

    Stick to calling girly ball and cooking tasty pies.

  18. BlueWorldOrder
    1:40 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    #14 Harrellson is a senior

  19. Free Enes
    1:44 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    I think we are far better than expected at this point because of not having Kanter – everyone else had to work harder in a lot of ways. However, I think if he came back, it would help us more than it would’ve originally. Everyone else is on their game and has improved in their own ways, and Kanter would only add to that – everyone else had the chance to be pushed and they’ve all improved, and like you said, Kanter would be icing on the cake.

    And as much as I think Kanter should be a starter…it makes me sad to think that Jorts has done so much this season to be pushed aside, even if he isn’t the better player. He’s given us so much.

  20. Free Enes
    1:45 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    19. Unnecessary.

  21. Louisville is pathetic
    1:45 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    15 – who didn’t beat us in football? South Carolina, that’s who. Oh, and Louisville…and we all know that’s your real favorite team but now that we beat them down you are pretending to be a GA fan.

  22. tim
    1:45 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    18) He’s 6’8 and doesn’t even weigh 200 lbs. I think it will be ok. Hoping Trevor Lacey can get it together.

  23. bung
    1:46 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    what? is this online pizza?

  24. cm
    1:46 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    14. no damn way wiltjer plays over gilchrist.

  25. kyflash
    1:47 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    Let us not forget that since Jorts has been in Lexington he has practiced against some of the best big men in the NCAA.
    His first year PPat was our center, last year he practiced against Cuz and D.O., this year he is practicing against Kanter. That kind of competition will build you or break you.

    One cool idea that we has BBN can do as a salute to Harrelson would be to start using the phrase “I aint Jortsin you.” instead of I aint Joshin you. We as an elite community would know what it is about. Let the others wonder.
    Long live Jorts.

  26. BlueJ
    1:47 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    Maybe Knight and Lamb would get more open shots. Look at how Hedo Terk. is playing now being back with the Magic and having a dominant big man. Remember all the players who look a lot better than they are when playing with a great big man. Penny Hardaway, John Starks anyone.

  27. Ciggy is a PIG
    1:48 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    19 – the year 1960 called and they want your comment back.

  28. catinhat
    1:48 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    19 – lmao.

    That’s why their feet are so short: so they can stand closer to stove and sink.

  29. thompr03
    1:48 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    I love it how all these fans from other teams stalk our website get a life

  30. Big Bear
    1:50 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    Can’t get my hopes to high with Jorts as our big man…….

  31. hoss cat
    1:50 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    This team isn’t going to any final four without enes. They’ll struggle big time when they play anyone with a big athletic front court like UNC’s. Harrellson will be on the bench with fouls and elroy will be in there gettin gangbanged.

  32. BlueJ
    1:51 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    Even Dwade and Kobe. Look how Wade played with a good Shaq. What has Kobe done without Shaq or Gasol(who now may be the best center in the league). I know Wade is great now, but he has lebron. Jones really doesn’t have anyone to take the double teaming pressure and focus from him.

  33. cintinhat is also a pig
    1:55 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    30 – they are also so short so they can shove them up your hairy asses.

  34. catinhat
    1:57 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    35 – This is true. Which is why my wife could still laugh at the joke.

  35. Rick's VD
    1:58 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    It hurt’s when I pee

  36. catinhat
    1:58 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    35 – And I am clean shaven. Inspired by Jorts.

  37. gottodoit
    1:59 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    15. Who didn’t beat us in football? Louisville, you wee Cardinals troll.

  38. SexNMentalWards
    2:03 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    33 – because there are so many of those out there. People who automatically wrote UK off when the Enes is ineigible ruling came down forgot to see what else was out there as far as competition in college basketball this year. We can make the FF, no doubt. It’ll take more improvement, and some luck along the way, but to suggest this team can’t do it is stupid.

  39. dan
    2:05 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    We still need Kanter. I do agree that by Kanter not being reinstated that it’s allowed this team to grow and become better individually were if he’d been playing from the start I think that would’ve held the rest of the team up and they’d used him as a crutch. I’ve always liked Harrellson but he’s not on the same level athletically as a Cousins or a Kanter. And that will be exposed again and again when UK plays a team with a strong post presence, like it was against UNC. Right now UK is really good. But to be great they need Kanter.

  40. cintinhat is also a pig
    2:08 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    36 – I’m sure your wife would laugh bc she probably has the same 1960’s mentality that you have. let me guess…she doesn’t work, stays at home and takes care of the kids, has your dinner waiting for you when you get home, and shaves your butt for you. I don’t have anything against stay-at-home moms, but I do have something against trying to make women feel inferior. if it weren’t for women, you guys would be fat, sloppy messes. Show some respect.

  41. bung
    2:09 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    I like our chances this year. Miller and Hood are 6’7″ and can jump if we get Jorts and Jones in foul trouble. We need to work on the break. All of these rebounds and so few fast break points.

  42. CalifCatFan
    2:09 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    Free the Turk!!!
    You NCAA Jerk!!!

  43. JBird
    2:09 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    Nice reading,but I would definitely disagree with one point. We WERE overwhelmed down low at Chapel Hill. Zeller and Henson absolutely dominated us in the paint. Teams with big,athletic front lines will be our demise in the NCAA tourney.

  44. ricksVD
    2:11 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    It hurts when I pee

  45. bung
    2:13 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    We have learned a lot. I think we would take UNC by 10 if we played right now.

  46. BPsycho
    2:15 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    #34 No one player will win a championship solely because of himself. “If someone could, it would have been Bron Bron in Cleveland” …0-4 to my Lakers. It’s a team game, Jordan had soo much help it wasn’t even funny. Gasol is a good center “when he wants to be” he’s a lazy sob.

    and John Starks was awesome get that ish outa here lol

  47. Al's IndiCats
    2:16 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    40) also if we were to get a “Duke” draw this year we could make it to a FF, other wise we’ll make some noise reguardless!……..GO CATS FREE ENES!!!!!!!!

  48. Kentucky101
    2:18 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    I think if UK plays UNC again it would be different I see a team now that has some confidence in Jorts and Jorts has some confidence now, the first few games I watched and they would not even think about passing the ball to him. Now he is looking for the ball and his team is looking for him. And when your looking for it, that makes it easier to catch!

  49. VII
    2:21 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    I love the Jorts lovefest and Jorts is emerging into the area usually reserved for Kentucky Natives on my All-Time Fav list.

    With that said, the blueprint is still out there on how to defeat UK… get Jorts in foul trouble. Until Eloy Vargas steps up to serve as a servicable back-up, or Hood or Miller move down to play small ball, UK is beatable with Jorts in foul trouble AND the opponent has a big man that can exploit the weakness.

    Fortunately, not a lot of dominate big guys this year.

    War Auburn

  50. VII
    2:22 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    UK would beat UNC on a neutral floor if JORTS stayed out of foul trouble.

  51. bung
    2:23 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    I sure hope i spelt all that correct……

  52. bung
    2:25 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    I been workin on those posts since yesterday…..

  53. Roger
    2:26 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    42. I believe that women should be in the workforce if they want to. Having said that, I belive our country has been in decline since more and more women spend so much of their time in the workplace. I actually am meaning this as a complement. I believe that when women were housewives (first) they were the glue that held families together. Sad thing is, their are women that probably wouldn’t mind being housewives and mothers on a full time basis if their men would (or could) support the family financially.

  54. Al's IndiCats
    2:27 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    Normally I’m optimistist about things, but in all honesty I have a bad feeling about this NCAA thing with Enes. Seriously, in the last few weeks they’ve let so much ish pass with Selby, Newton, Pryior, the guy beating the hell out of one of his team mates for MSU. IT’LL be with UK when they put their down. The NCAA is flat out a JOKE!!!!!!!

  55. You Can Call Me Cal
    2:39 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    So Beisner, I very much disagree with your assessment that Jorts/TJ have not been outmatched yet. I would say that our 2 losses were very much due to them being outmatched by that big dude from UConn and then there’s the fact that all 3 of our big men were fouled out by UNC. Check yourself

  56. JCH
    2:49 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    One thing you didn’t mention is the opportunity Harrelson has had playing against Kanter in practice. I’ve got to believe matching up with him day in and day out has been a big contributor to his “blossoming”.

    At this point, I’m kind of hoping Kanter isn’t made eligible until next year. With all he’s done I’d hate to see Harrelson relegated to a back up role which, I’m assuming, would happen immediately after if Kanter is made eligible.

    I’d like to see what kind of season Harrelson can put together and see if he can work himself into a professional gig on this side of the Atlantic.

  57. BlueCapper
    3:04 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    17) Dominated? You mean after UK’s front line got in foul trouble?

  58. TheTruth
    3:10 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    Love the cats, but this post and many subsequent comments are why people think our fan base is delusional. We’re a Final Four team now? No doubt (as one commenter said)? 1 week ago everyone’s talking about how awful U of L is. Now, many are acting as if the LineBeards are some measuring stick for success?

    We have two great players. WE have two good role players. We have a center that has good games against bad competition and we have one heck of a shooter off the bench. Maybe it’s enough. Maybe we’ll develop another bench player and continue to improve.

    But it’s January 4th. There are probably 25 teams who can all say at this very same time every year that they “could make a run to the Final Four.” Come back down to earth.

  59. Realist
    3:33 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    Umm..can we be honest. Getting past the sweet 16 would be a pretty big struggle. NO DEPTH in MARCH=EASY OUT. If Harrelson gets in foul trouble Vargas is the only big guy sub off the bench we have. I hope I retract my statement come march.

  60. minton
    3:41 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    Deep down inside, i don’t think i want Kanter elegible. If he is deemed eligible, you know all the UK haters are going to go on and on about us having a pro on our team. If we win a championship with him, there will always be tha asterisk. I would rather us succeed without him, especially with Jorts doing so good. I’d hate for him to loose PT after his great effort. I just hate UK being in this situation. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation.

  61. Uncle Big
    4:41 pm January 4, 2011 Permalink

    59 – I remember that dunk and it was spectacular. I can’t seem to remember who won the game though. Do you remember? Oh, yeah, I do remember and it wasn’t Georgia. The won-lost records don’t usually list spectacular dunks. That’s why they’re not called spectacular dunk records.

  62. Jim
    11:09 am January 5, 2011 Permalink

    I used to think U.K. had the most knowledgeable fans in the
    country,but after looking at some of these statements we
    either have some jealous U.L. fans writing these,or we’ve
    had some new fans that are natural born idiots.I truly hope
    they’re Louisville fans instead of being part of our fan base.
    I would have thought they would be laid-up in the Scum center
    licking their wounds.

  63. duke rules
    11:14 am January 5, 2011 Permalink

    lets review big josh against some major division schools . against uconn zero points 6 rebounds. north carolina 4 points 7 rebounds. notre dame 0 points 9 rebounds. mmmm he must not do well against some players over 6-4 . im sure the plumlee boys are scared to death. bet they dont even know who josh is. stay in ur terrible conference and brag. worst conference in america .

  64. Jim
    11:26 am January 5, 2011 Permalink

    I knew this U.K. team was going to be good, but because of Harrelson I think we can be very good. Jones is starting to
    learn that he’s not in highschool any more and and getting
    rid of his ball-hog approach to the game. I just hope now,
    that he learns he’s not a three point shooter and gets under
    the basket were he belongs. That would make us a 10 point better team. Go Big Blue!!!