West Virginia’s Deniz Kilicli is a Turkish native. Like Enes Kanter, he faced eligibility issues coming to the states to play college basketball. He was suspended for the first 20 games last season due to an NCAA rule that has since been eliminated.
Kilicli has been through the ringer with both the Turkish club teams and the NCAA. And he never thought Kanter was going to be cleared.
“I never thought he was going to play,” Kilicli told ESPN’s Andy Katz at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Tournament yesterday. “I knew that club was going to do what it did. I knew that he wasn’t going to play. I called it like a year ago.”
“He got a bunch of people talking to him and in his ear saying he was going to play,” Kilicli continued. “But I know how it goes. I didn’t think he was going to come here [to America]. Two years before, I don’t think he was even thinking about it. I don’t know what happened in those two years. Maybe he got pissed or something. But coming here is a good way to show yourself with all the stuff, play on ESPN, and you’re not going to have that over there. He probably wanted exposure. I was desperate. I got to play. He don’t need to. He’ll go first round anyway.”
Everyone has an opinion on what happened to Kanter.
Kentucky fans think he got jobbed. Calipari haters think the coach finally got caught. Many writers believe the NCAA is in the wrong and that it is just another example of their hypocrisy.
But the most interesting take is probably this quote from Kilicli to Katz:
“It’s too harsh on the international players,” Kilicli said. “We’re not equal [with the Americans]. We’re not playing in the same kind of system. It kills the guy [Kanter]. I talked to him. He wants to play. He’s a really good player. He can’t play, and that sucks.”
If the Kanter ruling does anything, it will create a disincentive for European kids to come to the States. While the exposure opportunities are great, is it worth possibly alienating your club team and risking the chance to sit out an entire season?
Foreign imports are great for college hoops. Texas has opened a pipeline to Canada. St. Mary’s already has a pipeline with Australia. Elias Harris is an all-american. I’m sure there are quite a few player’s that are escaping me right now, as well.
If the NCAA is going to make this ruling with Kanter, I think they should then also make an effort to educate the best, young, foreign talent on what will get them ineligible or suspended if and when they come to the states.
Punishing kids that don’t know they are breaking obsolete rules is unfair.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.