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November 24, 2009 at 12:02 AM

An interview with Enes Kanter’s coach

enes.jpg Photo credit: Stoneridge Preparatory
Spoke with Stoneridge Prep coach Derryck “Tank” Thornton who coaches Enis Kanter (above), the Turkish star who verbally committed to play basketball at Washington.
(How did this happen?) “It happened because of coach Chill (Raphael Chillious), the coach at the University of Washington. He coached this kid in the Jordan game. I guess he kept an eye on him and kept in touch with the kid and he was very familiar with the kid. He spoke to the parents. Washington came and struck up a friendship. The kid is phenomenal. It’s a no-brainer to try to get the kid. And then Lorenzo (Romar) came and he met Lorenzo. And the fact that he was a NBA player, and the program, and the style they had, he made the verbal. And we’re excited. Really excited.”
(Did he make an official visit?) “No.”
(Do you know when he’ll do that?) “As soon as our schedule clears up a little bit. We’re in season right now.”
(What other schools was Kanter considering/) “USC, Indiana, UCLA and UNLV.”
(Why did he choose Washington?) “Like I said, just his relationship with Coach Chill. He liked their style of play. The fact that (Romar) played in the NBA, (Kanter) respected that. The players that have come out of University of Washington and to the NBA and done well like Brandon (Roy). All of those things. And then the stuff he found out about the school and the program. Just how good they are. What big man doesn’t want to play with a great point guard like Isaiah Thomas and Abdul Gaddy.”
(What type of a player is he?)

“Enes is just very dominant big man. We just played four games out in Vegas and he probably averaged 34-35 and about 19-20 rebounds. He’s amazing. He shoots the three. He’s got NBA range. He’s strong. Will finish around the rim. Just knows how to play. He had 23-24 points the other day and I’m being honest with you, I couldn’t tell he had that many points. He’s so unselfish. If it’s possible to have an unselfish 48-point game, then he had one.
(Is he a true post or can he also play the wing?) “He can do both. He’s super comfortable at both. It’s not like he’s more uncomfortable with one other than the other. He probably averages 3-4 amazing dunks a game on people. So not that he doesn’t want to play in the post, but on offense I got him out on the wing because he shoots it so well.”
(Did he fly under most people’s radar?) “I think everyone kind of knew about him, but he’s from Istanbul so unless you really are super-keen into what’s going on in Europe, you might not know about him. The beautiful thing about his relationship with Raphael, Raphael met him two years ago so he was very aware what kind of talent this kid was.”

(How did he land at Stoneridge?)
“I spoke to his parents. He was interested in a four-year schools in the states. I spoke with his dad and told him about our school. They made a decision and he’s been here every since.”

(He’s a senior and will graduate in the spring of 2010, right?)
(I saw some stories questioning his college eligibility. Can you fill me in on that?) “I don’t know a bunch about it because that was mostly stuff that happened before he got to me. I’ve heard five different stories so I don’t want to speak on anything that I don’t know is true or not. I’ve read the same stuff you’ve read. I don’t know how much weight or merit that carries. I know the kid is a great kid. I know he gave up millions so he can play ball in college. He had teams in Europe coming at him offering millions and he said no. He’s very smart. He’s picking up the language. He’s doing great in class. He’s phenomenal player. He’s a lottery pick. He’s a for-sure lottery pick.”
(I heard he might go in the draft, but lottery pick?) “His bad game here was yesterday and he had 30 (points) and 20 (rebounds). That was his bad game.”

(How is his english?)
“It’s good. It’s getting better and better. It’s getting more fluent with the language.”


Mike DeCourcy at the Sporting News believes Kanter may not have any eligibility problems because of a new NCAA rule that allows student-athletes to play for pro teams so long as they don’t receive payment.
— Early upset alert for Washington. Watch out for Montana, which went into Eugene and beat a banged up and depleted Oregon team 68-55. Oregon (3-2) played without senior forward Joevan Catron (back) and sophomore center Michael Dunigan (hip). Senior guard Tajuan Porter, who was held to two points on 1 of 5 shooting, played limited minutes because of a “twisted” ankle.
— The Orange County Register described UCLA’s71-52 win over Pepperdine as patchy. The Los Angeles Times says the Bruins are making baby steps.
— And Arizona fell 65-61 to Wisconsin.

Comments | Topics: Abdul Gaddy, UCLA


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