Jun 22, 2011, 4:38 PM EDT
Turkish center prospect Enes Kanter is something of a mystery to NBA teams, since he was forced to sit on the bench for Kentucky all season long after the NCAA ruled him ineligible. On draft media day, however, Kanter made one thing crystal clear: he does not lack for confidence. SB Nation’s Mike Prada has the report:
Because of his status, Kanter decided to go on the offensive during Wednesday’s media session. He was exceedingly confident throughout his 30-minute interview, making a bold declaration midway through that jarred a lot of people there.
“I believe if I could have played [at Kentucky], I would go with the No. 1 pick,” he said. “I believe I am the best player in this draft…”
Later, he downplayed the significance of sitting out a year.
“I’m not worried about anything,” he said. “Even if I could have played, I would have just played like, 22-24 games, because we’d have won many games by 30. I don’t think I missed anything…”
… [Kanter] couldn’t help but drift back again to the year he missed and what might have been had he stayed at Kentucky.
“We would have won the National title,” he blurted out at one point.
A reporter followed up. “Easily?”
“Yes,” was the immediate response.
Okay then. Kanter will almost certainly go behind both Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams unless David Kahn decides to get really bold on draft day, but it sounds like he’s determined to make any team that passes on him realize they made the mistake. (The Cavaliers, of course, will likely have the opportunity to draft both Irving and Kanter if the Jazz select a point guard with their #3 pick.)
Everyone knew that Kanter was one of the biggest and most skilled players in the draft. Now it looks like he’s got the confidence (or ego) to match that size and skill. If Kanter does turn out to be a bust in the NBA, it won’t be because he didn’t believe in himself.
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