Follow us:

Husky Men's Basketball

The latest news and analysis on Husky men's hoops.

April 10, 2010 at 10:25 PM

Kanter Stars In Nike Hoops Summit; Jones Not Too Shabby

Jones-Kanter-2010HSum.jpg
Photo credit: USA Basketball – Sam Forencich
It was impossible to watch the Nike Hoops Summit and not think about the Huskies.
What if Washington had been able to secure Kentucky-bound Enes Kanter (above, right)?
What if Terrence Jones (above, left), who is still uncommitted, signs with UW?
Both players had pivotal roles in tonight’s game, but no one shined brighter than Kanter, the 17-year-old Turkish phenom who up until this point had been something of a urban legend and YouTube sensation.
Few people had ever seen him play in a real game against real competition.
He made his United States debut in 2008 scoring 21 points and 17 rebounds for the International team in the Jordan Brand Classic, but that game faded from memory.
Well tonight, Kanter reminded everyone why many believe he’ll be a lottery pick in 2011. Simply put, he was the best player on court.
And that’s saying a lot considering he was sharing the floor with North Carolina-bound Harrison Barnes, Ohio State-bound Jared Sullinger, Duke-bound Kyrie Irving, Brandon Knight (uncommitted) and Jones.
No one dominated like Kanter, who started the game on the bench. He scored a tournament record 34 points, topping the previous best 33 set by Dirk Nowitzki.
Kanter also had a game-high 13 rebounds and converted 13 of 21 field goals on a variety of low-post moves, putbacks and mid-range jumpers.
He even produced an ESPN-worthy highlight in the third quarter. Kanter trailed Chinese guard Sui Ran on a fastbreak, received a pass in traffic and converted an acrobatic layup despite being fouled.
“Thirty-four points and 13 rebounds in 24 minutes, very impressive,” World Select coach Rob Beveridge said. “It’s probably one of the best I’ve seen in a long time.”
It was interesting watching Kanter play against Jones and Sullinger.
The 6-10, 255-pound Turk was simply too big for Jones and he often used his 7-1 wingspan to snag rebounds over Sullinger.
Too bad he won’t play for Washington. He said he felt bad de-committing from the Huskies and likened coach Lorenzo Romar to a friend.
As for Jones, he had his moments. He came off the bench, but replaced Patric Young (Florida) among the starters and finished the game for the Americans.
Jones was on the floor during the decisive 39-23 spurt that allowed Team USA to pull out a 101-97 victory and avenge last year’s defeat. It’s the 10th time in the past 13 years the Americans have won the game.
Jones wasn’t spectacular, but he played a solid game. He finished with 15 points on 5-for-10 scoring, four rebounds and three blocks.
Here’s a video clip produced by USA Basketball from Friday’s practice.
The game will air on FSN in the Seattle area at 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
MORE ON KANTER:


— Not sure why the link on the sports page to the Kanter story isn’t working. Our tech folks are working on it.
In the meantime, here’s the unedited version of the story that ran in Sunday’s newspaper.

By Percy Allen /
Seattle Times staff reporter
PORTLAND – Enes Kanter didn’t know much about Washington or its men’s basketball program.
He knew UW assistant coach Raphael Chillious and that was enough for the 17-year-old Turkish phenom, who verbally accepted a scholarship offer last November to play for the Huskies.
“Raphael was my coach two years ago,” Kanter said. “And he’s a really good guy. That’s why I committed to Washington.”
But when the signing period begins Wednesday, Kanter intends to sign a scholarship with Kentucky, ending the Huskies’ brief and bizarre recruitment of a prospect shrouded in mystery and intrigue.
Before Saturday’s Nike Hoop Summit, which pitted the USA Junior National Select team against the World Select team, he had been an Internet sensation to college basketball fans who had seen him in YouTube highlights.
During the game, the 6-foot-10, 255-pound forward affirmed why many mock drafts, including NBAdraft.net, believe he will be a first-round pick in 2011.
In front of 7,354 at the Rose Garden, Kanter scored 34 points, the most in the 15-year history of the game.
“Everyone knows that he is a really good player,” Kanter said about Dirk Nowitzki, who held the Nike Hoops Summit record with 33 points. “I’m excited.”
Kanter also collected a game-high 13 rebounds, however, Team USA pulled out a 101-97 victory because it outscored the World Select team 39-23 in the fourth quarter.
North Carolina-bound guard Harrison Barnes led the Americans with 27 points, center Jared Sullinger, who committed to Ohio State, added 22 and guard Kyrie Irving, who will play at Duke, scored 15.
“Kanter scored a lot of points for them,” said Portland standout and Washington recruit Terrence Jones, who tallied 15 points. “It seemed like he was the only one shooting the ball for them.”
Kanter converted 13 of 21 field goals on a variety of low-post moves and putbacks. He also stepped out to the perimeter and knocked down a few mid-range jumpers.
Several NBA scouts in the arena compared him favorably to Houston Rockets center Luis Scola, Indiana Pacer rookie Tyler Hansbrough and Sacramento Kings center Spencer Hawes, the former Husky.
“He’s a hard worker,” said a NBA front office executive. “He’s just more physical than these dudes.”
Kanter has traveled far – literally and figuratively – in a short time.
Even though he made his United States debut in the Jordan Brand Classic in April 2008, Kanter, who was born in Zurich, Switzerland and raised in Turkey, was an unknown international prospect in America.
At 16, he played part of the 2008-09 season for the Turkish club team Fenerbahce Ulker, appearing in four Euroleague games and five Turkish Basketball League games alongside professional players.
Kanter said he declined a six-year, multi-million-dollar offer from Fenerbahce and a two-year deal from Greek club Olympiakos.
“My dream has always been to play in the NBA, so I decided to leave,” he said.
After coming to the United States last year, Kanter bounced between two prep schools before landing at Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley, Calif.
Chillious, who coached Kanter in the Jordan Brand Classic, worked quickly to secure the versatile big man. The UW staff flew to Las Vegas in November to watch him play and both sides were impressed.
“Coach (Lorenzo) Romar is a really good guy,” Kanter said. “He’s like a friend. Not like a coach, but like a friend.”
Once he committed to UW, Kanter popped on the radar of several schools, including Kentucky.
“I de-committed to Washington because bigger programs became interested,” he said. “I didn’t know they would want to recruit me.
“It was tough because Raphael is really my friend. I was scared a little bit to tell him. It was a little bit sad.”
Kanter reopened his recruitment in February and in March committed to the Wildcats.
Admittedly, he doesn’t know much about Kentucky.
He knows the Wildcats advanced to the Elite Eight this season. He knows they’re reportedly losing at least five players to the NBA.
And he knows John Calipari, Kentucky’s coach.
Calipari enticed Kanter with promises of playing time and exposure on one of the most storied programs in the country.
It was the perfect sales pitch to a teenager who traveled halfway across the world believing the road to the NBA travels through a high-profile college team.
“They are a really good team,” Kanter said. “John Wall is probably the first pick. (Patrick) Patterson is a top pick. That’s what I want. That’s why I picked Kentucky.”

Comments | Topics: top 25

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►