We have had just a few opportunities to see the make-up of this years Kentucky basketball team. That is this year’s team minus one BIG factor. That factor would be freshmen Turkish sensation Enes Kanter.
At least we are assuming he is going to be a sensation. There has been much speculation as to whether or not he will be able to lace ‘em up for the ‘Cats this season due to some league rules possibly being violated.
By this point in time any normal college basketball fan should have been acquainted with the situation Kentucky is in right now. To sum it up, Kentucky is a final four contender with Kanter eligible and without him the Wildcats may be looking at only an Elite 8 appearance. As John Calipari has point out many times over the past few weeks his team has a lot of work to do.
I usually pass that off as a normal Calipari quote at the beginning of the season whenever he is talking about his young teams but this year I kind of believe it. Last year’s Kentucky team had plenty of pure talent including the most athletic player in college basketball. Even with all of that talent Kentucky would not have been the team they were without DeMarcus Cousins.
This year it looks to be the same. We have an incredibly talented point guard but we don’t have the height or the post play it will take to win the big games. Eloy Vargas looked decent in the scrimmage but isn’t a big scoring threat and at multiple times looked unable to hit the necessary ten foot jump shot from the corner. Josh Harrelson looked good on the boards but isn’t athletic enough to make plays against superior big men.
This leaves the only possible solution. Kentucky needs Kanter. With him they gain height, athletic ability and a jump shot. If what we saw from Kanter in the U.S.A vs. World game is a sign of things to come he could easily be the best big man in the country. He provides a mid-range game that very few forwards and centers provide and with his 6’11″ frame he gets just about every rebound that comes his way.
He will create mismatches on the court because of his versatility and make life much easier for Terrance Jones. With Kanter, Jones and Darius Miller will either be guarded by someone taller and much slower than them or will be guarded by someone smaller and can utilize the paint.
It’s fair to say that Kanter makes the Wildcats a much larger threat in the SEC. He will most likely miss some time no matter what but Big Blue Nation will gladly give up the six or seven games he would miss if it meant a final four birth. One thing is for sure. If basketball doesn’t work out for him, he will make one hell of a professional wrestler.