Kentucky center Enes Kanter won’t be playing college basketball anytime soon. Kanter was ruled permanently ineligible to play for Kentucky, bringing an end to his college basketball career before it can even begin. The main reason behind these findings is that Kanter received what equated to a salary to play for a club basketball team in Turkey. This salary was above what was required for his living expenses while he was there, and far exceeded the potential value that a scholarship could have provided him back here in the states.
According to ESPN, the finding came down from the NCAA late Thursday, but Kentucky will appeal the decision of the board. It wasn’t a huge surprise that Kanter was ruled ineligible, as there have been rumblings around college basketball for weeks about this. There is no debate about whether or not Kanter received what amounted to a large salary to play professional basketball in Turkey, and even Kanter has admitted that it did indeed take place. Getting paid to play has stripped him of his eligibility status in the NCAA, though, which will keep him from playing at the University of Kentucky.
Kanter was expected to be one of the big names in college basketball this season, and it will hurt Kentucky a lot to not have him anchoring the front line. He is the replacement that the Wildcats found for DeMarcus Cousins, who was selected by the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft. Now Kentucky will have to figure out a different option, and it may fall on either senior Josh Harrelson or freshman Terrence Jones, depending on which direction the coaching staff decides to go. Kentucky may have to take a step back without Kanter, but nobody is expecting the Wildcats to struggle in the 2010-11 college basketball season.
Kentucky will open the season ranked No. 11 in the preseason college AP Top 25 and No. 10 in the preseason college Coaches Poll. Plenty of voters think that this Kentucky team is going to be just fine without Kanter on the court, even if they think the team would have been even better with him. Kentucky will host East Tennessee State at Rupp Arena to open their season on Friday, Nov. 12. The second game takes place in the Rose Garden against the Portland Pilots on Friday, Nov. 19. Their SEC schedule will finally get stated on Jan. 8, when they head to play Georgia.