Posted: Apr 8, 2011 9:13 PM by Mary Jo Perino
Enes Kanter will likely go down as the most popular Cat never to play in a single game.
Friday night after throwing out the first pitch at the UK baseball game, he spoke with the media for the first time since preseason.
"I'm just trying to finish my class first and then after my class I will go to Chicago and try to ready for the draft," said Kanter on his future plans.
He will train in Chicago with Tim Glover, Michael Jordan's former trainer.
"I hope next year I can finally play, I can step on the court. It's really exciting because my last game was Hoop Summit last year, April, almost a year ago. Right now I'm really excited."
Kanter certainly wishes he could have played this past season. While he says he enjoyed every minute being in Kentucky, it's still been tough to both understand and deal with the NCAA's ruling.
"It was hard. It just made me sad, but my teammates told me, my coaches, everybody told me you cannot give up. You have to keep working hard," said Kanter. "I didn't think I did something bad. I just came here for school. I just came here for education. When I was in Turkey, I was 14, 15, 16 years old and I didn't know anything. I didn't understand what money was because I always took money from my dad."
Kanter knows that he will have to perform well in the pre-draft camps. Having not played in front of anyone for so long, or in an actual game situation, he's got to prove himself all over again.
"It doesn't matter. I will just try and do my best. I will just try and show everybody because no one has seen me when I play yet. So, I have to show everybody you know."
Despite all that he's gone through, Enes doesn't regret for a second his decision to come to Kentucky. He could never have predicted the movement he would create, and he appreciates all the love and support he's been shown.
"Kentucky is just amazing. Kentucky fans, everything is unbelievable. After that I was ruled ineligible, Kentucky fans keep supporting me. It's just amazing to me."
While he never did get a Free Enes shirt for himself, he does have one new addition to his wardrobe now.
"I have Jorts."