Kentucky Recruit Took Cash To Play Pro In Turkey???

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On the heels of reports that Reggie Bush may get his Heisman trophy stripped because he accepted extra benefits, another athlete is in the headlines with allegeded NCAA rules violations. Pete Thamel of the New York Times is reporting that Kentucky commit Enes Kanter is accused of accepting over $100,000 dollars since the age of 14, to play professionally in Turkey.

Nedem Karakas, General Manager of Turkish basketball club Fenerbache Ulker, told the paper that the team has handed over banking and housing records to the NCAA, which is reviewing Kanter’s amateur status.

“The NCAA asked officially what we paid,” he told the newspaper. “We took from the bank what we paid. Normally, we send all the documents that we have. They asked for more things. They asked for the rent, what we paid.” said Karakas

Potentially damning revelations to a player whose eligibility was already under review by the NCAA.  Kanter 18, is talented 6’11 275lb beast with NBA potential.  Many thought he’d be one and done at Kentucky, but the NY Times report will jeopardize his N.C.A.A. eligibility if Fenerbache produces bank, and housing records showing they provided extreme cases of extra benefits to Kanter.

Or could it?……..

I have major reservations regarding the motives behind Fenerbahce releasing this information and working in conjunction with the N.C.A.A. Fenerbache Ulker are like  most clubs in Europe, that commit substantial financial resources into the  development and cultivation of young talent for their professional league and national team.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are invested in the housing, education, training and development of these players. Because these players are youth level, they can’t sign an official FIBA contract until they are 18 years old.  Until then they aren’t contractually bound to a specific club, but are loyal based on their word and bond as well as the club’s.

This unofficial arrangement can give a club like Fenerbahce the flexibility to doctor records and fabricate documents concerning the player. I played professionally in Turkey and have had it done to me.

Kanter is considered by many, to be the best 18-year old prospect in the world. He is a blue-chip stock, one that would return serious dividends. Homegrown talents like Hedo Turkoglu and Ersan Ilyasova spent a few seasons in the Turkish 1st Division, a rite of passage for the countries most respected basketball stars.

Kanter would be circumventing this process, and Fenerbahce losing a dominant presence in the middle and a financial bargaining chip when the NBA came calling. I don’t agree with Fenerbahce, but I can’t blame them for being salty.

Like most European clubs, Fenerbahce Ulker feels like they own their players, and homegrown talent defection is a blow to their basketball business, as well as a stab at their personal and national pride.  Kanter’s controversial exit from the team was less than amicable, due in part to the involvement of pseudo agent Max Ergul.

Ergul has been linked to several Turkish players, most recently Ersan Ilyasova of the Milwaukee Bucks.  Ergul is a mysterious figure in this saga, the Kasier Sose of a Turkish melo-drama. Though officially recognized as Kanter’s advisor, Ergul has been called an agent by Karakas (which Ergul denies) and is directly blamed for Kanter’s exit.

Because Kanter is attending an N.C.A.A. institution, there is no buyout clause so Fenerbahce cannot re-coup their hundred thousand investment. I believe this more than anything else, has ushered them into snitch territory.  On the flip side if Kanter is ruled ineligible by the N.C.A.A. and he returns to Europe, Fenerbahce would be in line to receive a buyout from any team that wants to secure his talents.

Another option for Kanter, though not as financially lucrative, would be to play in the D-League.  He won’t need a FIBA clearance to play, he will be heavy on the NBA’s radar and there is no buyout clause to pay Fenerbahce.  Granted the money is low, but the risk is worth the opportunity.  With his talent and skill set, he wouldn’t be there for long.

Fenerbahce has plenty of incentive to cooperate in the NCAA’s multi-national investigation that Interpol would be proud of.  The problem is that their cooperation will tarnish the credibility of foreign clubs to American professionals, and because if they turn on their own, imagine how quickly they will turn on a player from the USA?.

It is the theater of the absurd, and I have never heard of a high-level European club, essentially opening their books and providing evidence to the N.C.A.A. What’s next? European clubs opening the books on their American professionals to the Internal Revenue Service?

Fenerbahce must have spent a lot of money on Kanter, and his situation highlights a larger issue in international basketball, the one where clubs have the leverage and essentially hold players hostage, with fear of repercussions for their collegiate and NBA aspirations.

But let’s pretend that Kanter’s intentions are honest, and he  simply wants to attend one of the most prestigious basketball institutions in the country. Does it matter? He isn’t officially a professional under FIBA rules and the benefits he received are comparable to those received at US prep schools, which are legal.

If a kid wants to chase the American dream, can you blame him? Year in and year out, Kentucky has been a top flight program under coach John Calipari.  Next year’s team is a favorite to win the National Championship, and several of Cal’s players get drafted in the early picks of the NBA Draft.

A no brain-er right? Kanter obviously has no interest being shackled by a Turkish club that will overwork and underpay him, hell he can make more than $6500 a month playing for Calipari at Kentucky.

All jokes aside, the opportunities and exposure that Kentucky will give him, expedite his goal of playing in the NBA one day.  A player with aspirations of going to school for an education and playing college basketball should not be denied, especially by unscrupulous club teams who will sink to the lowest of depths to sabotage that dream.

Shame on you Fenerbahce.

The N.C.A.A. is expected to rule on Kanter’s eligibility within 10-14 days. [NYTimes]

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17 Comments

  1. This is hilarious:

    “Year in and year out, Kentucky has been a top flight program under coach John Calipari.”

    He’s been there for one year. Nice work.

    He has aspirations of going to school and getting an education? So, you’re suggesting that he plans to stay at Kentucky for 3-4 years rather than be a lottery pick next spring? Or, are you suggesting that people can get educated in one year of college?

  2. Jerseychaser54 says:

    This is hilarious:

    “Year in and year out, Kentucky has been a top flight program under coach John Calipari.”

    He’s been there for one year. Nice work.

    He has aspirations of going to school and getting an education? So, you’re suggesting that he plans to stay at Kentucky for 3-4 years rather than be a lottery pick next spring? Or, are you suggesting that people can get educated in one year of college?

    @B haha thanks for catching that, your right he has been at UK for only 1 year, you are much more knowledgeable than me.

    I actually said “A player with aspirations of going to school for an education and playing college basketball should be not denied”

    I didn’t mention how long he would stay at Kentucky, nor made any mention of people being educated in a year. If you would like my opinion on the questions you posed, email me.

  3. NBA teams (just like their NHL counterparts) have been raping the European leagues for their top talent and not paying a fair transfer fee for the players.

    Good for Fenerbahce.

  4. To “Phillip:”

    Why should Europe being making any money off of minors? These are high schoolers we’re talking about that these grown men are taking advantage of and limiting their opportunities. I can understand if you don’t like UK, but please don’t be ignorant to what this guy is doing to this kid. He is fabricating evidence to make sure this this kid can’t live his dream. Yeah, and America is the jerk here.

    Your incompetence insults me, and it should insult every American who reads this- suggesting America is somehow morally lower than European countries. What a joke.

  5. Jerseychaser54 says:

    Phillip, the NBA and NHL’s use of European leagues as talent beds is completely different, and the NHL leans more on Europe and Canada for top tier talent.

    There is a huge difference between basketball and soccer overseas, and basketball may never have a transfer fee the size of Cristiano Ronaldo’s. But basketball does have a buyout which compensates European Clubs very well.

  6. Pingback: Big Blue News » Blog Archiv » Free Enes! Thursday News and Views

  7. Before I get started into the recent allegations and reports regarding the amateur status of Enes Kanter, let me be clear about one thing – NOBODY who you hear talking knows ANYTHING specific about this situation.  The people who REALLY know what’s going on are bound to silence and aren’t saying a word.  This includes me.  I don’t KNOW specifics, just generalities.  The difference is, I’m willing to admit that right up front.
    Let me also be very clear…. the reports that UK took the Kanter commitment “just in case” Kanter got cleared to play are ABSOLUTELY WRONG.  Those who are closely involved with Kanter are very confident that he will be cleared to play.  The only people claiming he is a pro are those with clear motivations to hold that belief.
    So, what’s the deal?  For me, the first thing to look at is motivations.  It’s absolutely clear as day that EVERYONE involved with International basketball is absolutely 100% opposed to Enes Kanter playing in the NCAA.  It has nothing to do with any dislike for Kanter or the NCAA, it has to do with money.  If the top talent in the international game were to stop signing contracts with international teams in favor of going to college for a year, those international teams would lose a LARGE pot of gold…. the amounts they are paid when those youngsters finally make it to the NBA. When international players are drafted into the NBA, the teams who hold their rights get a LOT of money to let them go to the NBA.  If the youngsters go to college and never sign with the international teams, there IS NO contracts and that means no payday for these teams.  Every person associated with International Basketball is going to do anything to make sure Kanter can’t play NCAA basketball.
    Let’s be clear about one thing, Enes Kanter DID receive money from the Turkish basketball club.  When you read reports where some insider is quoted as saying “Enes Kanter was paid by Fenerbahce Ulcer”, they are being truthful and accurate.  Everyone freely admits that Kanter received money from Fenerbahce – the point of contention is whether he got paid MORE money than his actual expenses, which is not allowed by NCAA rule.  If he is found to have taken more money than his expenses, he will be ruled ineligible.
    So, you tell me, who out there knows what Enes Kanter’s expenses were?  Do you think some college coach who is whispered to say “he took money” actually knows what Kanter’s expenses were?  Forgive me for not buying that.  Do I think some other international club team knows?  Do I think Pete Thamel or any other writer out there has any clue at all what Kanter’s expenses were?  Personally, I do not.  None of those people follow UK basketball NEARLY as much as I do and I don’t even know what his expenses were.  What I DO know is that UK has seen every single expense document and is confident he was only paid his expenses.
    So last night, Pete Thamel writes a one sided hit piece AGAIN.  He misquotes a former HS coach on purpose (as claimed by the quoted source) and gets an obviously motivated GM from Fenerbahce Ulcer to say Kanter was paid a “Salary”….the implication being it was not simply expenses.  Then the “$100,000 over 3 years” figure is floated without ANY evidence being produced…. the GM only says that the “records” have been given to the NCAA.  Let me be the first to say this very clearly.  I HAVE NO FAITH that the $100,000 figure is anything more than a gross exaggeration.  I HAVE NO FAITH that there are any records that will support that figure at all.
    Anyone who has read this site over the past year knows that I’ve always said that Kanter’s family kept meticulous records on his expenses.  His father is a college professor and they always knew he wanted to go to college in the US and always understood the rules for remaining an amateur.  For every dollar that was spent, the Kanter family kept a record of it.
    Is anyone surprised that this story is being written only a week or so before the NCAA is expected to rule on Kanter?  I’m certainly not.  At every point over the past year that some significant event was expected, some anti UK/Cal source comes out with some BS story.  I’ve called it time and time again.  The information that is being reported starting last night with Thamel’s ridiculous story is not new at all.  It’s nothing more than a public relations war against a kid who has done everything possible to remain an amateur and is close to being cleared.  The timing of this is absolutely preplanned and intentional.  I have confidence that the NCAA won’t pay any attention to the “publicity” and simply rule on the documentation they have been provided.
    So forgive me if I don’t pay any attention to some other NCAA coach who Gary Parrish claims told him “the kid should be ruled ineligible for life.  Clearly, that coach has no clue either.  Forgive me if I don’t pay any attention to anyone claiming to have some sort if inside information on the Kanter situation….. I’m POSITIVE they don’t have a clue.  Forgive me if I pay no attention to some claim that “it doesn’t look good for Kanter”. The only two schools who have any clue are Washington and Kentucky….and both of those schools were confident that Kanter would be eligible.  Nobody else has seen a shred of documentation.

  8. I don’t pretend to understand but is it legal in Europe for professional basketball teams to give financial aid to high school basketball players prior to the highschool kids turning professional?

  9. Bravo ksanders7. You could be an interesting blogger to follow.

  10. Brandon Franklin says:

    ksanders7 post is copy and paste from marc maggard.

    The original content can be found here:

    http://www.truebluekentucky.com/index.php/basketball/926-guest-basketball/3585-whats-the-deal-with-enes-kanter.html

  11. ” Many thought he’d be one and done at Kentucky, but the NY Times report will jeopardize his N.C.A.A. eligibility”
    why would it the ny times article??
    the NCAA and UK already had the infomation
    all that the ny times so called reported did was to release what was already know
    also one the Assistant coach he interviewed has already said part of his article was not true

  12. The post by ksanders7 is a direct quote from Marc Maggard at truebluekentucky.com

  13. Jerseychaser54 says:

    @ukcatzfan

    What is already known and what isn’t known can be debated,unless you are the fly on the wall in NCAA deliberations. “Extreme cases of extra benefits” can jeopardize eligibility. There is a discrepancy between what Fenerbahce is saying it provided to Kanter and what Kanter’s team will claim. The assistant coach said he was “misquoted” the last I had read, if there is a quote with him saying the entire NY Times article is “untrue” then please link me.

  14. Rich,

    If you liked what ksanders7 wrote you need to go to truebluekentucky.com because there you will find the gentleman who actually wrote all that.

  15. William D. Cummings says:

    If someone is in the business of running a professional basketball team to make a profit, and invests in a young talent substantially, to nurture and develop the skills and potential of that player to make money, why should they not be willing to protect their investment? We all know that professional teams view their talents as property to own and trade for a profit, no matter what the age of the player involved. Trying to shame a hardened professional manager of a basketball team is ludicrous when everyone knows it is all about the profit margin. Why shouldn’t they be able to recoup their potential loss if there was a layout of cash. If you ran the team that he left, and expected anything less than compensation for what has been done for the kid, you wouldn’t be doing your job very well.
    UK has nothing to lose, so they don’t care. I am curious as to why he didn’t go try the NBA`draft, because it’s pretty obvious he’s after the money. He must think that a year at UK will optimize his potential worth and bring in more money in the long run. HE should be ashamed of shafting the Turkey team, not the other way around.

  16. Jerseychaser54 says:

    William,

    The particular business we are talking about is inherently shady at it’s core. Whether it be Istanbul, Turkey or Compton,Ca, the majority of people in this business are in it to make money. If the Turkish manager and team were smart, they would have chosen an alternate path to re-coup their investment. Kanter is projected to be a 1st round draft pick, so he will be getting a susbtantial payday in the near future. Had the Turkish team resolved things amicably without drama, there was a very could chance they would have gotten at least some of the money they allegedly committed to Kanter over the years. Why lie to the NCAA? Why try and ruin the dreams and aspirations of a kids wanting to experience college and life in America? If he was truly after the money like you say, I expect him to enter his name in the draft. Until then I have to judge him based on his actions. Look Reggie Bush allegedly took money so that he and his family could have a decent way of life while Reggie was on his way to the NFL. Kanter is in a similar situation, except that there is no Yahoo!Sports of Turkey to do a 5 year investigation into his families financial situation. Turkey is a completely different country with foreign laws, rules and practices. How can Kanter be held to an American standard? I know several international professionals that had similar arrangements as Kanter, the difference is the relationship with team/manager was such, that they solved any financial issues or dealing amicably.

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