From the moment that Enes Kanter arrived in the United States he has been followed.
Followed by NBA scouts trying to gauge his basketball potential, and by journalist trying to uncover his remarkable story.
Kanter came to the United States via Istanbul, Turkey, where he played for a professional basketball club. If you ask Kanter, and those that surround him, you will be told that he never accepted any payment for the professional games that he played in, aside from the usual payments such as room and board, similar to that of an American prep school. Others say that Kanter was payed like any other professional overseas.
“We are renting them a house and giving him pocket money.” Nedim Karakas, General Manager of the Turkish club that Kanter played for, told the New York Times.
The Times states that Kanter was payed anywhere from $100,000-$150,000 over a three-year span, beginning when he was fourteen.
These conflicting reports, coupled with the fact that no official evidence has been provided to the N.C.A.A. send mixed signals to both Kanter and his potential coach John Calipari, who in April told The Sporting News that “We know that, as in any other club, he received apparel. But there was no money, from what we’re seeing.”
Calipari later added that there is “a lot of misinformation out there. You’ve got people talking about it that don’t know, just heard a rumor.”
One reason that Kanter’s situation may differ from that of other European stars who have tried their luck at college athletics in America, such as Deniz Kilicli at West Virginia last year, is that Kanter’s father is a nationally-known doctor and is considered to be very wealthy.
Kanter also has expressed interest in the American way of life as opposed to turning to professionally playing basketball out of high school.
“I know in basketball I can play anywhere,” he said. “I couldn’t get the culture and the language where I was.”
To go along with the amount of financial stability and the will to learn that Kanter has is his desire to experience American college life.
“I wanted to come here and experience the NCAA,” Kanter told Evan Daniels of Scout.com. “My aim was to do this in America. I didn’t want to do this in Europe.”
Whether or not he ever steps foot on a collegiate basketball floor remains to be seen, but his skills will be in the NBA one day no matter the outcome.