Blog Entry

Kentucky loses Kanter, gains a ceiling

Posted on: November 11, 2010 7:54 pm
Edited on: November 11, 2010 8:02 pm
"If Kentucky gets Enes Kanter eligible, I'm recruiting Ricky Rubio next year."

That's what a coach told me a couple of months back, and I think he was joking but I can't say for sure. Either way, what I took from that statement was this: The NCAA allowing Kanter to play despite his background as a professional basketball player in Turkey would, in the eyes of most everybody outside of Kentucky, set a dangerous precedent. That's why I said on a radio show in Louisville on Wednesday that I did not believe the NCAA would clear Kanter, and why I wasn't stunned when the NCAA announced Thursday that it has ruled the UK freshman permanently ineligible.

Kentucky will appeal, of course.

But good luck with that.

The reality is that the NCAA has concluded that Kanter received $33,000 above his necessary expenses for the 2008-09 season with a professional team in Turkey, and there's little reason to think any lawyer will be able to make the NCAA conclude otherwise. Essentially, Kanter is a professional regardless of what those pushing his cause insisted. And though I realize the ongoing saga centered around Auburn quarterback Cam Newton suggests otherwise, professionals -- or anybody whose amateur status has been knowingly and seriously compromised -- still aren't allowed to compete under the NCAA umbrella.

So what now for the Wildcats?

Smallball, for starters.

This development -- combined with Daniel Orton's unexpected jump to the NBA after one season -- has Calipari operating with a roster short on tall people. Terrence Jones is a 6-foot-9 freshman who is talented. But when lists one of your weaknesses as "post play," well, that's a decent indication that you're not ready to be DeMarcus Cousins. In all seriousness, Jones is good, and he'll be good. But he's not a natural lowpost presence, and he'll have to drastically adjust his mindset to serve as UK's top post player because I don't believe Eloy Vargas, a 6-11 junior, is a difference-maker down low.

Beyond that, it's mostly just a bunch of guards and wings.

They're gifted guards and wings, to be sure, gifted enough, in fact, to still lead Kentucky to very good things. But whereas last season's Wildcats had no ceiling, these Wildcats almost certainly do now. This team will likely prove to be one player away from greatness, and that one player will end up being the guy the NCAA took away Thursday.

Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: November 11, 2010 11:19 pm

The NCAA is worthless, but...........

  I despise just about everything the NCAA does because some of their rules are outright ridiculous, but this Kanter issue is a no brainer.  He played on a professional team and got paid to do so.  All of you morons who think the NCAA is making an example out of Kentucky aren't doing your research.  I saw a story on ESPN about a year ago about 3 or 4 NCAA women's volleyball players who went over seas to play volleyball on a professional team.  They obviously knew they couldn't get paid, but since everyone on their team was getting paid, they were ruled ineligible to play for their schools because they lost their amateur status.  Women's volleyball is not a high profile sport by any stretch and no one would have even known about these girls doing this, but the NCAA punished them for it, so you know they will do it in basketball.

I'm not sure why Calipari kept saying that he was confident that Kanter would be cleared.  The only surprise to me is that it took this long to rule on it.

Since: Mar 1, 2007
Posted on: November 11, 2010 10:38 pm

Kentucky loses Kanter, gains a ceiling

$33,033 was accepted by family as educational expenses for him (as it was explained to them by the team that they could).  $20,000 was actually used for eligible expenses and the rest is sitting in an account still unused.  The problem from the NCAA's viewpoint is that the ball club had to pay those educational expenses DIRECTLY TO THE SCHOOL/TUTORS rather than give them to the family to use as needed as long as it was properly documented.  The family is willing to return the unused money and repay the $20,000 since they misunderstood HOW they could accept the educational money, but the NCAA said NO THANKS and declared him a professional (by the "letter" of the law it seems).  Whether the Turkish team PURPOSELY mislead the family or they and the family just misunderstood the METHOD of providing the educational benefits allowed, it seems clear that there was NO INTENT for Enes Kanter to become a pro and skip college.  Now that this issue has been cleared up a precedent has been set for all future foreign players as to how to accept educational benefits as part of the "necessary and allowable" benefits while playing with true professionals and retaining their amatuer status.  What does the NCAA gain by ruling Kanter ineligible?  NOTHING accept to show that they have the POWER to determine a person's INTENT regardless of whether the rest of the world agrees with them or not!  I hope the combined sports news media outlets can point out the insanity currently rampant in the NCAA's leadership and either bring about drastic changes in that organization or bring THEM down permanently!!

Since: Sep 7, 2008
Posted on: November 11, 2010 9:26 pm

Kentucky loses Kanter, gains a ceiling

Now that he's been ruled ineligible what does this say about the recent European rule change? The NCAA basically ruled as the always had before the rule and gave Euro club teams a blueprint for rendering their best young players ineligible. So should we expect this rule to be essentially meaningless as far as allowing European talent into CBB?

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: November 11, 2010 8:38 pm

Kentucky loses Kanter, gains a ceiling

Deniz Kilicli, out of Turkey had an even more interesting problem last season. 

He played 20 games for club team in Turkey that did not pay him at all, but unbeknownst to him payed another player. Kilicli was deemed ineligible for last season for the same number of games that he played with the "professional" club team. 

I can't imagine that Kanter would be eligible, even if he or his family paid back the money, until he sat out the same number of games that he played with the professional outfit.

Of course, my argument assumes that the NCAA is a rational entity, a statement we all know to be false. 

Since: Feb 17, 2008
Posted on: November 11, 2010 8:35 pm

Kentucky loses Kanter, gains a ceiling

33K is a lot more than 600, and I'm sure he wasn't using the money to go on college visits.

Since: Nov 29, 2006
Posted on: November 11, 2010 8:34 pm

Kentucky loses Kanter, gains a ceiling

West Virginia also has a player from Turkey (Deniz Kilicli) from Turkey, who was ruled ineligible for nearly the entire season last year. Kilicili received NOTHING, but had to sit out most of the season because he played on the same team as another player that did receive benefits. The NCAA is pretty adamant on this kind of thing. Kanter, however is an entirely different situation. He is a professional. No way UK will ever get anywhere with this ridiculous appeal. 

Since: Sep 9, 2008
Posted on: November 11, 2010 8:21 pm

Kentucky loses Kanter, gains a ceiling

Ah, the SEC.  Where money solves all your problems.

Since: Sep 23, 2006
Posted on: November 11, 2010 8:15 pm

Kentucky loses Kanter, gains a ceiling

If I remember correctly, the NCAA ruled last year that John Wall had received excess benefits (travel costs paid by his AAU or high school coach for an unofficial visit to UK), so he had to pay back some sum ($600 or so, I think) before he was deemed eligible by the NCAA.  With a physician for a father, $33K doesn't sound like a tremendous amount of cash -- can Kanter's family simply pay back the $33,033, and presto, eligibility restored?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or