NCAA did Enes Kanter 'a favor'


This week we broke down some of the top freshmen in the country in our first NBA Draft Stock Watch of the college basketball season.

But there were a lot more than freshmen plying their wares last week -- though one big first-year's story leads the way. Here's a quick look around the world based on notes I've collected from NBA scouts.

  • Kentucky freshman Enes Kanter was ruled ineligible by the NCAA this season. Kanter is appealing the ruling, but no one in the NBA thinks he'll be wearing a Wildcats uniform this season.

    So what happens next for Kanter? He has several options. He can return to Europe and make some money or he could go to the D-League and get more exposure to NBA scouts.

    But either way, NBA GMs and scouts I spoke with uniformly feel like Kanter's draft stock won't be hurt by this turn of events. In fact, one prominent GM thinks the NCAA did him a favor.

    "Had Kanter played at Kentucky, he would've been under a microscope," the GM told ESPN. "He played so well at the Nike Hoop Summit against Jared Sullinger, he has nowhere to go but down. If he played well, he'd maintain his status as a top-five pick. But if he struggled, his stock would've dropped. This way, there's very little that can happen to change his draft stock until individual workouts. Even if he plays in Europe and struggles to get off the bench, he won't be penalized for it. It's going to hurt our ability to scout him, but it should help him keep his draft stock high."

  • On Tuesday we discussed how a number of freshmen were doing in their first game or two of the season. We could've listed more. Tristan Thompson of Texas, Brandon Knight of Kentucky, Kendall Marshall of North Carolina, Tim Hardaway Jr. of Michigan and Tobias Harris of Tennessee all have looked good in the early going, as well.

    A few others, like Vander Blue of Marquette, Cory Joseph of Texas, Ray McCallum of Detroit and Will Barton of Memphis, had so-so starts.

    Other notable freshman, like Josh Smith of UCLA and Fab Melo of Syracuse, look like they'll struggle to make a major impact until they stop fouling. Both big men have played limited minutes because of foul trouble.

  • I got a lot of comments from readers about my podcast appearance with Ryen Russillo on Tuesday. On the show I said that Croatian forward Bojan Bogdanovic was one of my sleepers this year.

    Who is Bojan Bogdanovic?

    Bogdanovic has been off to a very good start in Europe. He's averaging 16.2 points per game in the Euroleague (including a 28-point effort against Barcelona) and 21.2 ppg in the Adriatic League. It's very rare that NBA draft prospects in Europe are getting that kind playing time or producing at that level.

    I've been talking to scouts for several weeks about him, trying to get some sort of consensus.

    Scouts are clearly impressed with his scoring ability. Bogdanovic is scoring from all over the floor. He has NBA range on his 3-point shot, but is becoming more adept at putting the ball on the floor and getting to the basket.

    He's not an elite athlete, but he has a quick first step and is good enough to finish above the rim.

    This is already a very good international class with Jan Vesely, Jonas Valanciunas and Donatas Motiejunas projected as potential lottery picks. Bogdanovic might be a fourth if he keeps up this production throughout the season.

    Right now we have him ranked No. 25 on our Big Board.