heinnews’s David Hein went out on the lookout for Enes Kanter’s younger brother Kerem and found him playing at MacDuffie School as a sophomore after he had moved from a high school in Jacksonville, Florida. They talked about playing for former European pro Jerry McCullough; the difficulties of being in the United States; some of the strengths of his game; being the younger brother of Enes Kanter; college basketball and NBA dreams; and one day playing for Turkey.
heinnews: Do you watch the NBA and have favorite team? What about a favorite player – maybe other than your brother?
Kanter: My favorite team in the NBA is the Utah Jazz. I watch almost all of their games. I don’t have any favorite player though, I try to learn from all the NBA players to reach my full potential and be an all around player.
heinnews: What other sports do you watch?
Kanter: I like watching soccer because where I am from its the biggest sport.
heinnews: Why did you move from Jacksonville to MacDuffie?
Kanter: One of the biggest reasons was education. The school in Jacksonville was very good at basketball but I wasn’t taking advantage of my education there. So my family and I decided to relocate myself somewhere I can play basketball at a high level and have a good education.
heinnews: What’s it like playing for someone like Jerry McCullough, who played many, many years in Europe – even in Turkey?
Kanter: I mean it’s really fun to play on a team that he is coaching. Because of the fact that he played in Europe many years and played college ball in U.S., he knows a lot about the European game. Also he is really good teacher. He teaches a lot about different stuff in basketball that I haven’t seen before. Even though this was his first year, we came out of nowhere and made it to the championship. I think with these two years coming up, we are going to be really good. I definitely believe I am going to learn a lot.
heinnews: How long have you been in the States? What’s your very part of being in the U.S.?
Kanter: This is my second year in United States and my favorite part is to have an opportunity to get my education and play basketball at the same time in college because in Turkey it doesn’t work that way. You have to choose one.
heinnews: What’s the most difficult part of being in the U.S. as a young adult from a different country?
Kanter: At first it was really hard because of being away from home and my friends but after couple months when I learned English, it became much easier and I got used to it.
heinnews: Why did you decide to come to the States in the first place?
Kanter: Like I said, to have a chance to play college ball and take my education at the same time. Because after a certain time it is getting harder to do both of them together.
heinnews: This was Enes’s description of your game: “He’s 6-8, 6-9, a left-hander. He has great touch. He can play like a power forward. He’s telling me that he’ll be better than me. But I’m trying to help him. He’s lefty, he can shoot, he can play the face-up game and play back-to-the basket. Right now he’s just trying to get faster because European and American basketball is so much different.” How would you describe your game? Who is it similar to? Do you pattern your game after anybody?
Kanter: I don’t think I can find anybody that I can say I play like him. Not even my brother. I’m a power forward who can play inside and can step out, be able to shoot mid or long range and handle the ball. One of my biggest strength is rebounding. I also play back-to-basket where I score my most points.
heinnews: What areas do you see where you have to work on most?
Kanter: I think I need to spend more time at the weight room and get quicker and stronger.
heinnews: How much do you talk to Enes and what do you talk to him about?
Kanter: I talk to him almost every day. And basically we talk about everything. We talk about basketball or I just call him when I get bored.
heinnews: Does he help with your game?
Kanter: He definitely does. He always asks for my game tapes and after watching them, telling me what should I have done.
heinnews: What is it like for you being his brother?
Kanter: It is really good opportunity because he was the factor why I started playing basketball. He is teaching me lot of stuff and my think is I am always one step in front of everyone because he is my brother.
heinnews: How often do people ask you about him?
Kanter: Once they hear my last name, they always ask about him.
heinnews: How often have you seen him play? And where do you watch him play?
Kanter: I went to couple of his games and it was unbelievable. Im watching almost all of his games through the NBA league-pass and I am proud of him.
heinnews: What are your future basketball plans? College basketball? What options out there? Playing out in Utah at all?
Kanter: I definitely want to stay here and play College basketball. It was my dream. But I think it is too early to decide where to play.
heinnews: And considerations of coming to Europe and playing club basketball?
Kanter: No, not really. My dream is always playing in the NBA after a good college experience.
heinnews: What about your goals for the future – both on and off the court?
Kanter: I want to finish my college even though if I will become a pro. Because basketball isnt the job that I will be doing after certain age.
heinnews: What plans do you have for this summer?
Kanter: Im going to play aau with my team New England Playaz but I will go back to Turkey in June.
heinnews: Any thoughts of playing for the Turkish federation and the national teams? Have they gotten in contact with you?
Kanter: I would love to play for my national team. Its really good feeling and blessed position to be in.