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Utah Jazz select Enes Kanter with third pick

Published: Thursday, June 23 2011 11:38 p.m. MDT

"I'm so happy, I'm so excited. I know the Utah Jazz fans are crazy and I love them," he said. "I will bring the team toughness and post moves, rebounding, everything. I will try to do everything to make the playoffs."

One thing that heightened Kanter's excitement level was the fact that one of Utah's returning players, Mehmet Okur, is also from Turkey, although the veteran Jazzman missed most of last season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon during the 2010 playoffs.

Okur tried to come back and play, but he battled leg injuries for most of the 2010-11 campaign.

"First of all, I felt great because it's the Utah Jazz — I have family there," Kanter said of his reaction to being selected by the Jazz. "Like Mehmet Okur play there, too, so it's kind of like my family, so I was very happy. I know he will help me a lot when I'm in Utah, and I can't wait to play with him."

And no wonder. After all, Kanter and Okur not only share a similar homeland, but Kanter's dad's name is Mehmet, too. And now, the Jazz will undoubtedly become the first team in NBA history to have two 6-11 centers from Turkey.

Kanter originally signed to play college ball with Kentucky last year, but he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA for receiving excessive financial benefits while playing in Europe.

The Jazz got a chance to watch Kanter practice a couple of times back in November, and they apparently came away plenty impressed with the big kid who just turned 19 years old in May.

"I just tried to show my best," Kanter said of his workout in front of the Jazz last year. "No one had seen me play yet, so I just tried to show myself."

Kanter also got an opportunity to go one-on-one with Jazz head coach Ty Corbin during the Chicago pre-draft camp.

"It was great, he was really tough," Kanter said of Corbin. "I'm just looking forward to playing with him one-on-one again. He's tough, I just want to say he's tough."

Kanter was disappointed in his inability to play collegiately for Kentucky and felt like his draft stock might've risen even higher if he'd had a chance to show his stuff. But he's happy with the way things worked out.

"I just want to say thank you to the Miller family, and I want to say be ready Utah Jazz fans — Undertaker is coming."

New Jazzman Enes Kanter

Hometown: Zurich, Switzerland

2010-11 College Stats: N/A

Bio: Kanter is one of the biggest gambles in the draft — and not just because he's 6-foot-11 and 260 pounds. He has so little real-game experience that nobody quite knows what to expect. He was dominant at the 2010 Nike Hoops Summit, where he scored a record 34 points (breaking Dirk Nowitzki's record of 33) while pulling down 13 rebounds in only 24 minutes. This was against fellow draftees Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight, as well as high-profile recruits Jared Sullinger of Ohio State and Harrison Barnes of North Carolina. Kanter committed to attend the University of Kentucky but was ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA and never suited up for the Wildcats.

First Round

1. Cavaliers (From L.A. Clippers) Kyrie Irving, Duke, PG

2. Timberwolves Derrick Williams, Arizona, PF

3. Jazz (From New Jersey) Enes Kanter, Turkey, C

4. Cavaliers Tristan Thompson, Texas, PF

5. Raptors Jonas Valanciunas, Lithuania, C

6. Wizards Jan Vesely, Czech Republic, PF

a-7. Bobcats (reported trade from the Kings) Bismack Biyombo, Congo, PF

8. Pistons Brandon Knight, Kentucky, PG

9. Bobcats Kemba Walker, Connecticut, PG

b-10. Kings (reported trade from the Bucks) Jimmer Fredette, BYU, PG

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