Personally, I am tired of reading about Enes Kanter. Yes, he is a supremely talented young man. Yes, he turned down a lot of money to come to the States in an effort to play college basketball. And yes, he did, at one point in his life, get paid to play basketball.
But no, he was never going to be allowed to play NCAA basketball.
That was the general consensus when he was being recruited, that was the feeling coming into the season, and thanks to a final ruling handed down by the NCAA on Friday, that was the end of it.
Or so I thought.
You see, NCAA President Mark Emmert spoke on the topic over the weekend with Seth Davis. It wouldn’t generally be a problem because, you know, he’s the NCAA president, except for the fact that he was the president at the University of Washington as recently as a year ago. And Kanter originally committed to Washington while Emmert was still the president there.
Emmert had a number of interesting things to say, but this was the money shot, which came in response to Dick Vitale’s assertion that Kanter would be playing if he were at Duke or North Carolina, not Kentucky:
“Not to put too fine a point on it, but that’s ridiculous,” he said. “By all accounts this is a very talented basketball player, but yet there were very few schools recruiting him. Why was that? Because everyone understood that there was a very large probability that he was not going to be deemed eligible. This has nothing to do with Kentucky or Coach Calipari. It has to do with a clear rule and a clear set of facts.”
You don’t have to live in Lexington to see how conspiracy theories can get spun here.
But that doesn’t matter to me. And it shouldn’t matter to you.
Because the bottom line is that Kanter isn’t eligible. He was never going to be eligible. He was paid by a professional team $33,033 to play basketball, and it was enough that the NCAA deemed him a professional. That’s a figure that was agreed upon by both sides. It didn’t matter where he went. He wasn’t going to play because he was in violation of one of the NCAA’s core rules.
Now, we can argue about whether or not the NCAA’s rules are just; whether or not Kanter was wronged in this situation. The fact that he passed up a huge European contract to come to the States, and the fact that he is remaining with Kentucky this season instead of joining a professional team, is a pretty clear indication of his desire to be a student.
Hell, I’ll go as far as to say that I want Kanter to be eligible. I enjoy watching good basketball players play basketball, and by all indications Kanter is pretty darn good. He’d be a lot of fun to watch, and he’d be even more fun to watch play on the same front line as Terrence Jones.
But he won’t play in college. Ever. And he was never going to.
So let’s just all drop it, mmk?