After watching practice these last two days, one thing is clear…Enes Kanter is even better than I had imagined. I saw the same game at the USA vs World event that you did and I got excited. But I still assumed that it had to be at least a bit of a stretch to assume he could come into Lexington and be dominant right off the bat. Now I am not questioning it anymore. During the two days of practice it was clear….Kanter is the most physically ready player on the team, he has the most offensive skill and as Calipari yelled out at one point, “he is the best player on the floor, get him the ball!” The reason UK can contend for a Final Four next year is simple….Enes may be that good.
But the question now becomes, when will we find out if he is eligible. Academically, the kid long ago cleared. However the question is what his status is from an amateur standpoint. The case boils down to this. Enes was on a professional team in Europe but was not paid a salary. He was given living expenses and ten years ago, that would have disqualified him. But the NCAA has now changed the rule, realizing that living expenses from a pro team in Europe is similar to the expenses given by a prep school in America and they should be treated similarly. The problem is that for the NCAA, Enes is almost a test case. Only a couple of players have ever come in under this new rule and none as high profile as Enes or for a program like Kentucky. Thus they are going to be thorough and take their sweet time. Add to that the fact that the Turkish league isnt thrilled about helping the NCAA out because they dont want to set a precedent for how they may lose more players in the future, and thus you have a recipe for a long wait.
It is likely Enes wont play in Canada. It does however seem from those I talk to that UK is confident he will play this season. That confidence wont turn into certainty until they hear word from the NCAA, but they feel good about where they are, as seen by the fact that they havent gone and gotten another big man in recruiting at the last minute. Enes is a force of nature….Kentucky needs him to be good and fans will love him. Now one just has to hope that he gets the clearance he needs to showcase those skills in the Blue and White.