notes

UK basketball: ESPN analyst says Kanter is solid NBA lottery pick

With few 'sightings,' Cal's judgment golden

jtipton@herald-leader.comJune 17, 2011 

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — According to ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, NBA teams will be messing with Sasquatch when they consider drafting would-be Kentucky big man Enes Kanter next week.

"He's kind of like Big Foot," Fraschilla said Thursday on an ESPN-sponsored teleconference. "There's been a couple of sightings."

The NCAA ruled Kanter permanently ineligible because he received compensation in excess of permitted amounts while playing for a professional team in his native Turkey. That meant Kanter did not play in games this past season. The year before, he only played for a prep school.

Still, Fraschilla judged Kanter as a solid lottery pick at 6-foot-11, 262 pounds and five percent body fat.

"Pretty good prototype of Al Horford-type center-forward," Fraschilla said.

While acknowledging that Kanter did not have a "large résumé," Fraschilla said he deferred to UK Coach John Calipari's judgment.

"I'm going to go by what John Calipari said," Fraschilla said. "Kanter could have been realistically what Jared Sullinger was for Ohio State."

'Shrewd move'

Fraschilla saluted Brandon Knight's agent Arn Tellem for limiting the workouts the former UK point guard participated in for NBA teams.

For starters, Knight is already considered a top-five pick. So workouts had little upside.

Then, Fraschilla added that Knight was not a physical player, did not go to his left well and was not a "pure" point guard. So the agent was wise to limit workouts against bigger, stronger opponents.

Fraschilla called it a "calculated, shrewd move" by the agent.

'Ultimate winner'

Fraschilla suggested Butler guard and Lexington native Shelvin Mack would be a good pick for the Miami Heat late in the first round.

"He's the ultimate winner," the ESPN analyst said.

ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford suggested that Mack's shooting this past season (41 percent overall, 35 percent from three-point range) caused his stock to dip.

UK eyes Canadian

A year ago, forward Anthony Bennett was from Canada. Parts unknown, in terms of basketball.

"No one knew me," he said Thursday at the NBA-sponsored Top 100 Camp.

Now he's a fast-rising prospect and a target of Kentucky's.

"They said they really want me," Bennett said of UK coaches. "They want to recruit me hard and develop my skills."

Injuries help explain why Bennett, a 6-7, 230-pound forward, seemingly came out of nowhere to be ranked No. 22 nationally by Rivals.

A knee injury sidelined Bennett for much of this past season, when he hoped to play for Findlay Prep. Once he sufficiently recovered, he injured an ankle.

"At the end, I was just trying to get back in shape," he said.

That he was named co-MVP of another recruiting camp earlier this spring testifies to how well he regained his level of conditioning.

Bennett, who will be a senior this school year, said he was wide open in terms of picking a college." I don't have a top five," he said. He said he did not expect to make a decision until next year.

Mum's the word

Big man Andre Drummond, considered by some the best player in the high school class of 2012, refuses to play the recruiting game by the regular rules.

Prospects usually say what schools they are considering. They narrow their lists. They talk about what visits they'll make and what college coaches will make pitches in the home.

But not Drummond, a 6-10 center from Oakdale, Conn.

"I don't talk to anybody (about recruiting)," he told reporters at the Top 100 Camp. "I don't even do interviews."

Then, Drummond said of the ongoing interview, "This is the first time in six months."

Drummond said he made an exception at the Top 100 Camp because "it's summertime and I wanted to change it up."

When asked why he does not talk about the details of his recruitment, Drummond said, "I'm not going to sit around and play games with coaches. Not tell them I'm interested when I'm not. ...

"I'm just enjoying my time as a 17-year-old kid."

No-shows

Several prospects were no-shows at the Top 100 Camp, including Shabazz Muhammad, who is believed to be UK's No. 1 recruiting target in the class of 2012.

Other no-shows linked to UK include Winston Shepard, Perry Ellis and Chris Thomas.

Ellis, a prospect on UK's wish list, has tendinitis in his knees and his trainer said he thought it would be best if he skipped the camp, his mother, Fonda, told the Herald-Leader's Ben Roberts. She said he should be ready to go for next week's Kevin Durant Skills camp in Chicago.

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