Blog Entry

FYI: UK didn't pass on an impact big for Kanter

Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:21 am
Edited on: September 9, 2010 9:32 am
It's impossible to write anything about Kentucky -- and by Kentucky, I mean John Calipari -- without folks from both sides flooding your inbox, and I don't really mind it. I'm fully aware there's no more polarizing figure in college basketball (and perhaps American sports) than the only man to have Final Fours vacated at two different schools. But that doesn't mean the complaints against him don't have to make sense, and the main complaint I've heard about Calipari's willingness to accept a commitment from Enes Kanter despite likely amateurism issues doesn't make any sense.

The complaint?

That Calipari possibly wasted a scholarship on Kanter that could've been used on another big.

The emails that say such are in response to me writing that signing Kanter was a "gamble worth taking" and that there "never was any real downside" for Calipari despite there being a real chance that Kanter would never be cleared to play. Some readers have insisted I'm wrong, that the downside is how UK might now have to start the season without an impact center. The following is a typical note that was posted on the message board below the column: "I'm not buying the no-lose story Parrish is selling. If Kanter doesn't come then [the Wildcats] are behind where they could've been had [Calipari] used the scholarship for a different center."

What's funny is that I received many emails making that same point, but nobody ever mentioned the "different center" Kentucky could've signed instead of Kanter. Want to know why? It's because there wasn't a different center to be signed, or at least not one that could have made any real impact at a program like Kentucky.

Let's rewind: Kanter committed on March 23, which is to say when there were no other impact centers available. Jared Sullinger, Perry Jones, Adreian Payne and all prospects like them had long been off the board, so there was nobody else to get. Furthermore, it's important to remember UK was, at the time, operating under the assumption that it wouldn't lose Daniel Orton to the NBA Draft. So all indications were that Calipari could afford to gamble on Kanter because he'd still have Orton either way, and, beyond that, who were the Wildcats going to take otherwise?

Again, there was nobody to take.

The best prospect taller than 6-foot-8 still on the board when Kanter committed was Terrence Jones.

And guess what?

Kentucky got him anyway.

Since: Apr 8, 2007
Posted on: September 10, 2010 1:19 pm

FYI: UK didn't pass on an impact big for Kanter

This is kind of nit-picky, since I agree with the general point, but March 23rd isn't the pertinent date here. Remember, that's when their recruitment of Kanter ended. You have to go back to the months before Kanter committed and examine the time that UK spent recruiting him when they could have presumably been recruiting someone else. I don't know when UK started recruiting Kanter, but if they spent time on him in the summer and fall of 2009, then they could have theoretically put those resources towards one of the centers who had not yet committed (Sullinger and Jones both committed very early). Again, it's nit-picky, but you have to look at the time they spent recruiting Kanter, not the time after he committed.

Since: Mar 23, 2008
Posted on: September 10, 2010 12:13 pm

FYI: UK didn't pass on an impact big for Kanter

For the 9000th time (for "koachk" above)...The NCAA recently changed the rule about "paid professionals" from long as they were not paid above and beyond what was necessary for "normal" living and travel expenses, they can be eligible to play college basketball in the US. Have you read anything about this Kanter situation? If not, please don't comment. It's embarassing.

Since: Sep 13, 2006
Posted on: September 10, 2010 8:24 am

FYI: UK didn't pass on an impact big for Kanter

My complaint is Calipari's LACK of integrity.  He knew this kid was a paid professional and still recruited him.  Calipari is pure sleeze.  Part of your job, Gary, is keeping these guys honest by reporting the unbiased news.  How about doing that with repect to Calipari?  Do your job, Gary. 

Since: Sep 13, 2007
Posted on: September 9, 2010 8:38 pm

FYI: UK didn't pass on an impact big for Kanter

Royce White, anyone?  Not a gimme, but definitely a possibility and one that got discussed PLENTY in June.

Since: Jan 17, 2007
Posted on: September 9, 2010 7:43 pm

FYI: UK didn't pass on an impact big for Kanter

Roombarider: Would that you were only right that the nut cases would stop their mindless chatter!  I'm afraid, however, that you have overestimated them!

Since: Sep 7, 2008
Posted on: September 9, 2010 1:03 pm

FYI: UK didn't pass on an impact big for Kanter

UK also gave a scholarship to Jared Polson who is a very good player, but is basically a walk-on. They gave the scholarship to him just for one year just because there was an extra one. From what he's said and done Calipari doesn't really like a full squad of scholarship players. There's usually at least one left over for nobody in particular.

Since: Feb 8, 2007
Posted on: September 9, 2010 10:57 am

FYI: UK didn't pass on an impact big for Kanter

I do what I can, brother. I do what I can.

Since: Mar 6, 2008
Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:58 am

FYI: UK didn't pass on an impact big for Kanter

Gary, thank you for helping everyone get their heads screwed on straight. I read some of the "could've signed another center" comments and I kept thinking "I don't remember any other available centers when Kanter picked UK." But I don't spend a huge chunk of my life delving into where teenagers are going to college so I thought maybe I didn't know enough to have an informed opinion. Now, thanks to you, I know that many of the world's bobble-heads have been corrected and they can stop their mindless chatter.

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