Enes Kanter Is the Beginning of Calipari's Kentucky 2.0; Is Brandon Knight Next?

Over the weekend, the college hoops community got itself acclimated with Turkish big man Enes Kanter, who is headed to Kentucky next season to help fill the gigantic void left by DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton and presumably Patrick Patterson. Kanter wasn't a new name, but the Nike Hoop Summit was a first opportunity for a lot of mainstream fans to see him play. He did not fail to impress. ↵
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↵Any time you can break a record previously held by Dirk Nowitzki -- even in an all-star setting like this -- you've done something that will make a few people stand up and take notice. Kanter looks like he'll be a load to deal with in the post, sliding nicely into the role DeMarcus Cousins played this past season. Definitely different skill sets, but statistically, it isn't hard to envision Kanter being something of a double-double machine. ↵

↵But Kanter can't do it alone, and that's where the rest of the spring gets interesting. Four of the Rivals top 15 players are still unsigned, including the nation's No. 1 player, Brandon Knight. After the Hoop Summit, he listed Kentucky, Kansas, UConn, Syracuse and Florida as his potential destinations. He'll make his announcement at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday on ESPNU. Kentucky is also reportedly in the mix for forwards Terrence Jones and C.J. Leslie. The Wildcats have already landed Rivals' No. 27, player, Stacey Poole, a 6-5 forward. ↵

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↵If Knight goes to the Wildcats, it will be interesting to see what sort of chain reaction it sets of among those top players. And if you're Knight, why wouldn't you want to play for John Calipari? Look at his track record with point guards. Derrick Rose, No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft. Tyreke Evans, No. 4 pick in the 2009 NBA draft. John Wall, likely No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA draft. Doesn't Calipari's recruiting pitch to Knight pretty much begin and end right there? ↵

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↵The other wrinkle in this is Calipari's interest in continuing to coach these one-and-done players. Sure, Derrick Rose helped Calipari to a title game and Wall got UK to the Elite Eight -- nothing to sneeze at -- but Calipari has lined up against the current rules regarding one-and-done players. ↵

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↵⇥"Oh my god. Let me tell you this, I don’t agree with the rule now. I think that one, kids should be able to go directly to the league if that’s what they choose to do and if they go to college, they should stay two years or maybe three. The way it is right now, it’s really hard. You think about my team next year. I’m going to coach all freshman again next year. The team I have that will be next year. I will have four returning players, two have experience, two have not much experience. That’s the way it is. It’s hard.” ↵
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↵Still, I imagine if given the choice, Calipari would rather have Knight than someone else. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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