Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Enes Kanter is a 6-foot-11 center who was taken by the Utah Jazz with the third pick of the 2011 NBA Draft on Thursday night. The 19-year-old from Turkey had hoped to play collegiately for the University of Kentucky last season, but was ruled ineligible by the NCAA for money he received while playing in Europe.
What do you hope to bring to the Utah Jazz?
"I'm going to try to work hard and make this team better. I'm going to bring more energy and more toughness. I really believe this team is a really good team when they are playing together. This is a talented team and I believe this team will be great next year.
Where did the nickname "Undertaker" come from?
"I am a fan of WWE and my favorite wrestler is the Undertaker. In Kentucky, friends call me Underkanter because Underkanter and Undertaker it's pretty like close names. So they just started calling me Underkanter and my nickname is Underkanter."
Kanter started playing professionally in Turkey when he was 15-16 years old, playing against grown men almost twice his age. What was that experience like?
"That made me tough. They didn't say like, 'Oh, he's a young kid.' No, they were like going hard. ... They just make me tough. They told me 'This is real life and you have to get used to it.' And I said, "I need to get used to it, I need to get used to it.' "
What will you do if there's a lockout, which looks likely right now?
"My family is still back in Turkey. I miss them probably I will go visit them because I didn't see them like maybe over a year, you know, 13-14 months. If there's an NBA lockout, I will probably go back to Turkey and play national team, That will keep me like stay in shape. I will stay in shape, and I will like play against the great players in European Championships. I will play against like Dirk (Nowitzki) or I will play against Gasols (brothers Pau and Marc) or I will play against like NBA players. I know that will make me ready for NBA."
What were your first impressions of Utah, the team and the city?
"I know Utah Jazz is right team for me. Utah Jazz fans are just crazy. They are unbelievable. I love the city because the city's like really similar to what I grew up in Turkey, the east side. I saw that there's mountains everywhere and there's still snow in mountains. But first of all, the city is really clean and beautiful and people are so nice. I just feel like at home."
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