08-22-2011, 09:40 AM
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Enes Kanter may be simply unlucky
BAMBERG, Germany — Enes Kanter was only two years old in 1994 when Nihat Izic was appointed by the Turkish Commission for Youth Basketball to lead a new program for the development of young basketball players in Kanter's native Turkey.
The goal? To nurture and grow the top players in the country who would one day be able to compete for the Senior National Team and secure basketball supremacy in European basketball.
Seventeen years later, Izic is an assistant coach on the National Team and Utah Jazz rookie Enes Kanter remains one of his prized prodigies.
"I've known him since he was like this," said Izic, bringing his right hand up to his waist.
"Enes was always a big kid and pushed the other kids around. He's always had the competitive mentality. That is inside of him. And if they are patient in Utah, they will see he can be a very important player."
Knowing the current unsettled state surrounding the NBA's lockout and collective bargaining agreement, patience most certainly is a virtue for Jazz fans — and Kanter too.
Good thing he has plenty of practice.
While it feels like yesterday since Utah selected the 19-year-old 6-foot-11, 260-pound center with the third overall pick in June's NBA Draft, it's been two years since Kanter has competed in any meaningful basketball games.
"It's easy for me to say that I am the unluckiest guy ever. I couldn't play in college, and right now there is the lockout. The only thing I can do is just wait," said Kanter, reflecting on his failed college basketball career with the University of Kentucky and head coach John Calipari.