The NCAA Clearinghouse has ruled freshman center, Enes Kanter, permanently ineligible because of benefits he received playing in Turkey in 2008-09. According to the NCAA, Kanter was granted $33,033 in benefits above his actual and necessary expenses, meaning he will lose his amateur status. Although Kentucky will appeal the decision, the words "permanently ineligible" echo in our minds, as bold as can be. Things don't look so promising for the potential top-five pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.
His stock is sure to fall from having the year off, but there is no doubt he is a top talent this year. Without as much as taking a single shot this season, he is recognized as one of the best frontcourt prospects and could have challenged North Carolina freshman and consensus future No. 1 overall draft pick, Harrison Barnes, for the draft's top spot.
But what now for John Callipari and Kentucky? They will surely miss his low-post presence and rebounding skills and an elite defensive presence. Without him, they are an undersized team and will rely heavily on little-used senior forward, Josh Harrellson and even more so on wings Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Stacey Poole Jr. Harrellson's career numbers don't stack up against even most back-ups as he averaged just 4 minutes per game last season, but he offers his powerful 6'10", 265-pound frame and perhaps some surprise this season. In the annual Blue-White intrasquad scrimmage, he had a double-double, finishing with 16 points and 26 rebounds, playing all 40 minutes.
With Kanter, this Kentucky team was perhaps Final Four bound, but without him, the Wildcats are still talented. It's foolish to count out a Callipari-led-team with this much talent.