When I entered the blogger contest last year, it wasn’t for the lucrative pay. It wasn’t for the free tickets to bachelor auctions at Bakers 360. It wasn’t for late night calls to do night posts. It wasn’t for chance to date famous women. No, it was for this moment. The chance that I would get to turn around and judge another bunch of bloggers this year. So without further ado, Will Totten, Corey Nichols, Shannon Bauer, Andrew Board, and whoever Deke is, your time is up. Let the journey begin.
Will Totten On #0
Enes Kanter is one of a kind. Aside from being the only Swedish-born Turkish person I know, next year he will become the first University of Kentucky player to don the #0 on the court for the Wildcats. Seeing Kanter in Lexington come October would be a major surprise to those who have lived in caves since last November. After first being committed to The University of Kentucky’s West Coast Campus (more commonly known in College Basketball circles as The University of Washington) in late November, Kanter decommitted and on April 14, signed a NLI with The University of Jodie Meeks. The next hurdle that had to be overcome is something that is also a first of its kind situation, as Kanter may also become the first European player to enter the world of college basketball thanks to proposed Rule Exception 22.214.171.124.1′ a rule stating that a player who had played semi-professional or “club” ball in Europe can retain their collegiate eligibility as long as they dont accept “more than actual or necessary expenses”, which would allow The Big Enes to compete right away, without sitting out any games.
Now that we have background on #0’s road to Lexington, we can look forward to what hes going to bring for the ‘Cats on the court next season. With the loss of Demarcus “Boogie” Cousins and academic superstar Daniel Orton, the Cats front line looked like it would consist of a pair of Jorts, and not much more, but with the arrival of Kanter, a coveted pro prospect since he was a 6’9 15 year old, the frontcourt began to look more stable, and combined with another former UW commit Terrence Jones, forms a formidable paint. Let me make this clear right up front, we have been spoiled these last 365 days, do not expect Kanter to be the next Demarcus Cousins, or Knight to be John Wall, because they were special, on and off the court. However, on the other hand, Kanter brings a similar game to Kentucky that Boogie did. Any Youtube video that has been recorded of the big man shows you one thing, the man rebounds the ball like its his own child coming off the back of the rim, really, its scary the way he goes after the loose balls. In last years FIBA European Under-18 Championships, Kanter took home the MVP after recording averages of 18.6 points and 16.4 rebounds a game. If that doesnt convince you of his abilities, then know that during a game last year at Stonebridge Prep, The Wide Enes posted stats of 50 points and 25 rebounds, Wilt Chamberlain numbers, and one could only hope that he recorded some “other” Wilt stats at the after-party that night. Maybe your still not convinced that Kanter has game, well know that at the Nike Hoop Summit (a prestigious invite that former UK players John Wall and Demarcus Cousins participated in last year) this past April, Kanter broke the all-time Summit scoring record in the game, dropping a mean 34 on the United States team while also grabbing 13 rebounds. Who’s record was it he broke you ask? None other than Kentucky fan’s 2nd favorite European player and perennial NBA All-Star Dirk Nowitzki (#1 of course would be Todd Svoboda if he wasnt born in CIncinnati). NBAdraft.net also predicts Kanter as the #2 overall pick in next years NBA Draft. So, yeah, hes good.
Now that we’ve examined what Kanter will bring ON the court, what kind of entertainment will he give the fans OFF of it? Last year, UK fans always had Demarcus, John, Jorts, or Krebs to make us laugh and watch, but who will it be this year. While I doubt that Enes will have as much “Peter Parker Swag” as Boogie did, or will he ever claim to “Get shit right” on TV, I can only assume that Kanter will be the source of much comedy next year. A big Turkish man in love with the Undertaker is funny enough, and the fact that hes foreign may lead to some unintentional comedy (ala Jon Hood texting at a Daughtry concert comedy). Either way, the arrival of The Big Enes should be welcomed by boys and girls alike, as he will bring the dominating post presence back to Kentucky that we haven’t had since March. And John Calipari, Im looking at you, the Undertaker needs to be at Midnight Madness, make it happen.
Corey Nichols On ‘Enes’ Kanter
“Sorry bro, but nothing rhymes with ‘nople’.”
We need to give this young man a decent nickname.
Over the last few weeks, the phenom sometimes regarded as “New Boogie” has shown us that he can be a dominating player on the court (see: Nike Hoop Summit), as well as a diverse and interesting character off the court. But unfortunately, the nicknames are about what you’d expect them to be, with little variation (if you don’t know what nicknames I’m talking about, I’ll tell you when you’re older). Some are funny, but smack with too much nostalgia and, worse, sound like the name of a John Travolta movie, like the aforementioned “New Boogie”. Others are simply unimaginative (“Hey let me put THIS adjective with his first name! HA! You’re right, that IS frickin hilarious!”). Then there are some that are good, but not invented by us, like “The Bull from Istanbul” (whoever got to that name first, we will find you). Like Boogie, The Razor, and Jorts before him, Mr. Kanter needs for us to give him a new nickname to truly become a legend.
But before you get all nickname-crazy, it would help if you actually knew a little bit about him, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it?? (It’s a simple question. Just say “yes”, and we’ll move on.) Of all our incoming freshmen this year, none has a history quite like Enes Kanter. Born in Zurich, Switzerland (home to other such fine things as Swiss watches, Swiss chocolate, Swiss army knives, Swiss cake rolls, and a McDonald’s Hotel), young Enes was apparently raised in Turkey, or… something. That’s not important. What IS important, is that after playing without a contract (which is to say, for free) on a European team, he eventually moved to America to get an education and play ball at Stoneridge Prep in Tarzana (could help with a possible nickname), California. You could look up the school’s athletics page here, but you’d only find that they haven’t updated their roster since 2006, so news of our own Mr. Kanter is nowhere to be found (although that Mr. Sylla apparently has something to smile about). While there, he committed to play basketball at the University of Washington, which, as we found out later, is UK’s D-League affiliate. He was promoted, on April 14th, when he signed a Letter of Intent to play for Kentucky. Also, because he wasn’t awesome enough already, he is a huge fan of The Undertaker, of WWF WWE fame, and probably wants his introduction at Midnight Madness to go something like this (We can make that happen can’t we? Really, all we need is some firecrackers and a gong. Let’s make it happen).
So, there’s a little info for you to help with constructing the perfect nickname. But, before you go gettin’ crazy with the nicknames, keep in mind that his REAL name is pronounced IN-iss. I know the temptation is there to make the obvious joke, but please, for everybody’s sake, don’t. Like that one sorority chick you dated freshman year of college, it was easy, and we had our fun, but there was never really much there to begin with, and it’s time to move on. I mean it. Stop calling me.
To make things easier for you, and also to reinforce the correct pronunciation of his name, I’ve started something called the “Enes Book of Records”, wherein you’ll be able to find, and contribute to, the lore of Enes Kanter. Like Wikipedia, this record book is completely customizable, yet still 100% accurate (citation needed)! I’ve gotten you started here, but feel free to leave your own. Hopefully these will help when making up a nickname, which is still our number one priority (after signing Jai Lucas).
Enes Book of Records:
– He broke Dirk Nowitzki’s scoring record at the Nike Hoop Summit with 34 points. He also went home with 13 rebounds and Jared Sullinger’s lunch money.
– I heard his father is a doctor, and his mother is Grace Kelly.
– He raised a pack of wolves, essentially making him Mowgli’s grandfather.
– He participates in full-contact origami.
– He’d kill a drifter if you dared him.
– He changed the name of the city to Istanbul in 1453 because “The Bull from Constantinople” didn’t sound as awesome.
– He only eats waffles, because pancakes are “for girls and holidays.”
– He didn’t sign a European contract because “they play basketball in Europe?”
– He tried to enroll at Mountain State Academy in West Virginia, but wasn’t allowed to because other teams wouldn’t play against a team with him on it. Seriously. That one actually may be true.
– His favorite chip is Funyuns. He’s actually pretty normal when it comes to that.
– The Undertaker is his biggest fan.
Shannon Bauer On Kanters Role
What do we need from Kanter?
Let’s all be honest here – as great of a recruiting class as we have coming in, there has to be a question of whether or not we can repeat the same success with yet another team made up mostly of freshman. There’s even less leadership left over from last season, as many of the returning players haven’t seen much of the court – and it’s likely that this year’s freshmen may have an even more difficult task when it comes to rebuilding.
It’s not all up to Enes Kanter to make up for what has been lost, but his position may have the most pressure. With Miller and Liggins (and, potentially Dodson), there’s experience at guard and even small forward, but with only Jorts left at forward/center, Kanter’s role is going to be much more demanding, much sooner. Vargas and Jones will help carry both positions, but Kanter’s ability to play both facing the basket and in the paint separate him from the others.
Then again, what can we really expect from Kanter? He doesn’t seem to be quite as athletic as Patterson, but he can play away from the basket far better than Cousins did. So, which player can we most expect him to fill the place of? Despite his great reputation coming in, I can’t imagine him averaging a double double, simply because of the number of players who will get (and deserve) playing time. I just don’t see him becoming an explosive player right away, which Jones will probably be more capable of.
Kanter seems to need more refinement than Jones in particular, based on many of the highlight videos I’ve seen. He doesn’t seem as naturally quick or athletic as the players we have lost to the draft and the ones he will be competing against for playing time this year. He may need more work, but he does seem like a natural leader. There have been reports of him from different All Star games over the past few months of him being willing to sit on the bench and wait his turn to play – an attitude that will definitely be needed when he plays with so much other talent regularly.
It seems as though Kanter could have a longer future at UK than Jones, or even Vargas. Maybe allowing Kanter to fill a somewhat smaller role will help UK in the long run. Lack of experience and leadership is something that’s going to be a problem every year with the huge recruiting classes Calipari keeps lining up. It’s great to see UK at the top of recruiting lists, but there must always be a handful of veterans to step in and handle situations that unexperienced players simply can’t. Kanter already has displayed an attitude that will make him a great leader, and it would be great for Calipari to hang onto him for more than one year if that impression turns out to be true.
Kanter has expressed interest in staying more than one year (then again, we heard those rumors about every single one of the players UK lost to the draft after this past season, so I suppose take it with a grain of salt). His family also seems to be supportive of him staying and continuing his education. If Kanter really is interested in staying more than just one year at UK, the offense running around players other than Kanter isn’t such a bad thing. He may need to work harder than other freshmen when it comes to training, and he so far has expressed that he is willing to take extra time to do just that. Kanter can’t fill the void of experienced players just yet, but his need for more refinement and his already positive, team-player type attitude could make him the perfect player for Calipari to make a long term project, rather than a player just being trained to go pro. Kanter will no doubt make an impact this year, but he seems to be a likely prospect to stay more than his freshman season, so my expectations of him aren’t as big as those I have for Jones. I think Kanter will be more of a project, less of an immediate star, but that may be good for Kentucky’s future.
Andrew Board On The Underkanter
When Matt asked me to write about Enes Kanter, I was a little worried. Not because I don’t like “Big Enes” but because I didn’t know all that much about him, other than he REALLY likes the Undertaker. But after spending literally 5 minutes researching him on Wikipedia, I feel like I am more than qualified to talk about the Turkish sensation.
Kanter was actually born in Switzerland but was exiled at an early age because he was already taller than every man in the country. Kanter moved to Turkey, which incidentally is a country and not just a bird. That probably explains why I failed every geography exam I’ve ever taken. Apparently the official language of Turkey is not “Gooble Gobble Gobble.” Who knew? Anyway, it was here that the legend of the UnderKanter began.
Kanter first garnered the attention of the basketball world when he led the Turkish team to the FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship, averaging over 18 points and 16 rebounds per game. Two professional European teams offered Kanter a contract but he declined, instead deciding to play high school ball in the United States and then playing in the NCAA on his way to a dream of ultimately playing in the NBA. Kanter verbally committed to the University of Washington but eventually reneged when he realized Lorenzo Romar wasn’t actually a Star Wars character.
Big Enes soared up the recruiting boards when he played in the Nike Hoops Summit. Kanter was arguably the best player on the floor scoring 34 points, 13 rebounds, and making Jared Sullinger pee himself on several occasions. Kanter broke the single game record set by Dirk Nowitzki and immediately jumped in the rankings to the #3 spot in both the Scout and Rivals rankings .
Since that time, Kanter has committed to the University of Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation has quickly developed a case of Enes envy. It seems that Kanter posts a picture or video of the Undertaker on his FaceBook page everyday, which I can only assume will eventually lead to a match at WrestleMania where Kanter will team with the Undertaker against the Iron Sheik and Preston Knowles. Until that time, I think we’ll get to see a lot from Big Enes in the coming months and I think it’s safe to say that he’ll leave a lot of teams with Enes envy.
Deke On His Role Recruiting Kanter
Enes Kanter–A Fan’s Pledge, a Drunk Run-In with The UnderKanter, and Expectations
Before I begin, let me preface this by promising the following:
I do hereby solemnly swear to abstain from all words, hyperbole, and innuendo that rhyme with the word “Enes”. I am a UK basketball fan. This means:
1) As a UK fan, I am smarter, more basketball educated, more committed, more savvy with my hoops vernacular (see that?), and downright just better than every other opposing college basketball fan in the country. These are truths I hold to be self evident. So to all other college basketball fan bases…suck it and raise your game a bit higher than 4th grade recess jokes if those are your go-to quips. If you are Bobby Maze and like Ferrari’s, only you are excluded. That’s the best you’ve got.
2) As a UK fan, I don’t need to resort to potty humor and play the “Enes sounds like” game. I’ll leave that to the simpletons, like the Rowdy Reptiles (on the extinction list) and the overrated Dukies (your mothers would like their basements back), to play their childish games with their upcoming chants about Enes and his unique name. UK fans are above such pettiness…except when it comes to Matt Walsh. That kid would have made Mother Teresa kill puppies out of anger. It’s always open season on him.
My drunk encounter with The UnderKanter…and maybe a hearse, Paul Bearer, and an urn.
I got the chance to meet Enes on his recruiting trip to Lexington during the regular season. The following run-in is 100% true. Before the gory details, I notify you of the following: I was trashed beyond recognition, so trashed that putting together sentences was more difficult than trying to beat Rajon Rondo at Thumb War. Also, Enes’s love for The Undertaker is documented, and it seems to rival the type of fascination Rocky Top residents have for fashionable deer hunting apparel.
I was with some buddies at Drake’s, celebrating nothing, except the fact it was Thursday, the next day was Friday, and there were bound to be ladies out. Nowadays, I can always find a reason to party. Celebrating something is a bonus. I was LOTS of vodka in and momentarily out of women to hit on. I convinced myself smoking (another) cigarette was a good idea. So in my infinite drunk wisdom, I stumbled right into the Omega Moos from “The Revenge of The Nerds”, who were throwing a bachelorette party for the chick Poindexter hooked up with on the way to the front door. Fighting off their advances and their rumbling, hungry bellies, I made it out the door, lit up my death stick, and that’s when I saw him…The UnderKanter.
I can honestly say it was like something out of a John Woo film. Woo (not our Woo, the Hollywood director Woo) has a penchant for slow motion sequences with white doves and mists during important plot points of his movies. Don’t believe me? Watch “Face Off’ and “Mission Impossible: II”. Those birds are f*cking everywhere. Anyways, everything slows down. This was HAPPENING. I drag, I exhale, and then through the cancer causing mist of death I release…it all unfolds. Everything gets cold. Everything gets dark. Through my smoke mist, I see the hearse pull up (actually, it was a nice black car) right in front of Malone’s. Swear to God, I started hearing organs and bells chiming, man. Then, Paul Bearer (actually, it was Coach Antigua) gets out, grabs his urn (actually, the apparatus to help him get around on his torn Achilles tendon), and leads The UnderKanter (actually, it was Enes) into Malone’s to Tombstone Piledrive one of Lexington’s finest steaks. I calculate The UnderKanter has five steps to the door, assuming his brother Kane (who I think could be Terrence Jones because of the UW connection) doesn’t attack with a steel chair and delay dinner.
I try to pull it together. At this point that is a chemical impossibility. I’m possessed by the demons of inebriation. I HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING and show The UnderKanter some Big Blue love. Screw UW and the Fighting Lorenzo Romars, I’m thinking. UK needs him and I want to facilitate! Determined, I gather my wits and make my move. I maneuver a drunk/full-body-dry-heave/spin move (DON’T TRY AT HOME) and find the space between Paul Bearer and The UnderKanter. After spilling my drink all over Drake’s finest patrons, I gather myself, look into the eyes of The UnderKanter, and say…
Amused, he smiles, shakes my hand, and goes about his business of being awesome. The dude is HUGE. I have witnesses of my display, and honestly, I don’t feel very good about that.
Much has already been written and said about Enes Kanter and his size, skills, and all-around dominance on the high school level. Outside of the rumor Enes de-committed from UW because he thought “Huskies” referred to the UW female co-eds, there is little debate as to what Enes will bring to the table. Physically, he is ready to dominate the SEC. Outside of Trey Thompson at UGA, no other power forward in the conference can handle Enes. I know it was an all-star game and stats are bloated, but anyone that breaks Dirk Nowitzki’s scoring record at the World Championships is a force to be reckoned with. He is Rival’s #1 incoming power forward and a projected high lottery pick. Even our beloved Woo sees Enes as a one-and-done player. All UK needs is the NCAA to clear him.
Will he be Boogie? Yes and no. Enes will put up 15 and 10 a game, but he’ll do it in a different way. Enes is more versatile, whereas Boogie owned the paint and the glass. UK fans can only hope for another personality like Boogie in their lifetimes. If Enes has that personality, it’s lights out…Tombstone Piledriver style. May the SEC rest in peace.
Will’s Rose Ceremony
While all of these pieces certainly fit the assignment of a player profile, this group also offered a wide variety of approaches, and it’s that variety that makes KSR what it is. I felt like The Mysterious Deke really hit it out of the park this round. I was a little worried at first, reading about a recruiting trip and Deke being in a bar, but it ended up not being that kind of recruiting trip, and his ability to write an entertaining story, combined with a reasonable expectation section, and a killer one liner at the end really did it for me. So he gets the first rose.
The second place rose goes to Corey Nichols. Really, I thought his piece was good enough to place first as well, and maybe another judge would have a different opinion, but I felt like you ultimately left a little to be desired. Like, you know, a conclusion. I enjoyed the angle you took, on finding Kanter a nickname that doesn’t revolve around bathroom humor, but I would’ve preferred some suggestions at the end of the piece. You found a way to work in some factual parts to your preview, and I thought that was a solid addition to an already strong concept. Plus “waffles are only for girls and holidays,” made me laugh, even if I don’t know why.
The next three all seemed to be missing out on some critical part that kept the piece from being great. Will Totten, you get my third place rose if not just because we share the same first name. Honestly, I felt like you were trying too hard in this one. Not every sentence needs to have a throwback KSR joke (which is an easy trap to fall into, and one I have many times.) Still, I felt like you had the right aura about you, and I did like your references to both the Rule Exception and his many statistically great games, two things that are exactly what we’re looking for. Also, either intentionally or unintentionally, you implied Jon Hood was foreign, and that made me laugh. In future rounds, spend a little more time on your posts, cut out some of the run on jokes, and focus a little more on the hard proofs and I think you could go far.
The final rose goes… to Andrew (UKAndrew) Board. Andrew, like Will, I think you could benefit from a little more time reviewing your piece. The jokes were there, but not too many of them hit. At times they felt forced. And without the humor, you didn’t offer too much insight into Enes Kanter the player, either. I would have liked to see more of what you think he would contribute next year. Still, you seem to know the KSR mood, and if you can have someone help you with their jokes (Just say ‘no,’ to Gobble Gobble Gobble jokes,) you could make big improvements next round.
Sadly, I have no rose for Shannon Bauer. In the words of Randy Jackson, I just wasn’t feeling it, dog. Really though, your piece was fine Shannon, but to me it read more like a term paper or an essay than a KSR blog post. You certainly offered your opinion on Enes, and you did a fine job backing it up, but in the end, it’s not really what we look for on this site. I hope the best for you, and I hope the comment section doesn’t berate me too badly for cutting you.
TL;DR Deke and Nichols bring it strong, Totten and Board survive and advance, Bauer joins the millions of sorority girls that never wanted a rose from me anyways.
2.) Corey Nichols
3.) Will Totten
4.) Andrew Board
5.) Shannon Bauer
Happy Trails, Ya’ll.