SALT LAKE CITY — Most of the Utah Jazz fans who were in attendance Thursday evening got their wish in the 2011 NBA Draft.
But all those Jimmer fans sure didn't.
Much to the approval of a large, vocal crowd at EnergySolutions Arena, Utah selected fan favorite Enes Kanter, a 6-foot-11, 260-pound center from Turkey, with the third pick in Thursday night's annual draft.
But after Jimmer Fredette, the former BYU star turned national phenomenon, was taken with the 10th pick by Milwaukee, which sent the Cougars' favorite son and folk hero to the Sacramento Kings in a three-team, draft-day deal, the Jazz took ex-Colorado shooting guard Alec Burks with the 12th pick.
Jazz general manager Kevin O'Connor seemed pretty pleased with Utah's two first-round picks, who are both still teenagers.
"I like the fact that we got some size and I like the fact that I think both kids can get better," O'Connor said. "There's a ceiling that's pretty high for both kids, and that's a fact that we like.
"We drafted two 19-year-olds. I think the key thing is we've added a couple more pieces that can mesh with what we've got...We always think it's a success, but we're going to find out.
"We think we got two character guys, especially Kanter, that have a high motor and are willing to work," he said. "Both of them improved a great deal over the course of their last couple of years."
Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin felt much the same way as the Jazz GM, and in sizing up the two newest members of his team, he said Kanter and Burks could possibly earn themselves some playing time this coming season — that is, if the NBA can come up with a new collective bargaining agreement and doesn't wind up with a lockout.
"These guys are going to have to come up to speed pretty quick," Corbin said, "and I think these young guys are talented enough to push the veteran guys in front of them for some minutes on the floor. And we're going to have some pretty exciting practices because of it.
"They're talented kids, and hopefully their talent can shine and they won't get too discouraged and they'll have some success so they can stay on the floor."
O'Connor sized up Kanter as a big kid that's a hard worker who is only going to get better with age.
"If you were looking at (Kanter) as a football player, he's a north-south guy," O'Connor said. "He's not going to dazzle you with footwork, but he's going to try to run over you. And he gives us some length. Is he leaper and a shot-blocker? No. But... he gives Coach Corbin some options.
"Again, you've got to remember and temper it — he's 19 years old and he didn't play last year (after being ruled ineligible by the NCAA). But he's a willing worker, and I think that's the key. Here's a kid that didn't play last year and had a 5.9 percent body fat and did as good as anybody on the treadmill.
"He wants to be good, he wants to get better. All of us do, but he's willing to do it," he said. "Everywhere he's played, he's rebounded, even when he played in one of the best leagues over in Europe at 17 years of age, he rebounded the ball. And normally that translates into going into the pros."
Asked what he likes most about Kanter's game and potential, O'Connor continually praised the young man's work ethique.
"His size and his motor," the Jazz GM said. "Again, he's a willing worker. He's gonna get better every day. You get a big guy that will run the floor and work like he does, you'll be successful. ... He's a little bit of a bull in a China shop, in a good way."
After being taken by the Jazz, Kanter seemed to be taken with the Jazz, too — as in extremely glad to be coming to the Beehive State.
"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.
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
11. Warriors Klay Thompson, Washington St., PG
12. Jazz Alec Burks, Colorado, SG
13. Suns Markieff Morris, Kansas, PF/C
14. Rockets Marcus Morris, Kansas, PF
c-15. Pacers Kawhi Leonard, San Diego St., SF
16. 76ers Nikola Vucevic, USC, C
17. Knicks Imam Shumpert, Georgia Tech, PG
18. Wizards (From Atlanta) Chris Singleton, Florida St., SF
d-19. Bucks (reported trade from the Bobcats, who got the pick from New Orleans via Portland) Tobias Harris, Tennessee, PF
e-20. Timberwolves (From Memphis via Utah) Donatas Montiejunas, Lithuania, PF
21. Trail Blazers Nolan Smith, Duke, SG
22. Nuggets Kenneth Faried, Morehead St., PF
e,g-23. Rockets (From Orlando via Phoenix) Nikola Mirotic, Serbia, SF
24. Thunder Reggie Jackson, Boston College, PG
f-25. Celtics Marshon Brooks, Providence, SG
i-26. Mavericks Jordan Hamilton, Texas, SF
f-27. Nets (From L.A. Lakers) JaJuan Johnson, Purdue, PF
g,h-28. Bulls (From Miami via Toronto) Norris Cole, Cleveland St., PG
29. Spurs Cory Joseph, Texas, PG
30. Bulls Jimmy Butler, Marquette, SF
31. h-Miami (from Minnesota), Bojan Bogdanovic, g, Bosnia (Croatia).
32. j-Cleveland, Justin Harper, f, Richmond.
33. Detroit (from Toronto), Kyle Singler, f, Duke.
34. Washington, Shelvin Mack, g, Butler.
35. Sacramento, Tyler Honeycutt, f, UCLA.
36. New Jersey, Jordan Williams, f, Maryland.
37. L.A. Clippers (from Detroit), Trey Thompkins, f, Georgia.
38. Houston (from L.A. Clippers), Chandler Parsons, F, Florida.
39. m-Charlotte, Jeremy Tyler, f-c, Tokyo Apache.
40. Milwaukee, Jon Leuer, f, Wisconsin.
41. L.A. Lakers (from Golden State via New Jersey), Darius Morris, g, Michigan.
42. c-Indiana, Davis Bertans, F, Union Olimpija (Slovenia).
43. g-Chicago (from Utah), Malcolm Lee, g, UCLA.
44. Golden State (from Phoenix via Chicago), Charles Jenkins, g, Hofstra.
45. l-New Orleans (from Philadelphia), Josh Harrellson, c, Kentucky.
46. L.A. Lakers (from New York), Andrew Goudelock, g, Colllege of Charleston.
47. L.A. Clippers (from Houston), Travis Leslie, g, Georgia.
48. Atlanta, Keith Benson, c, Oakland (Mich.).
49. Memphis, Josh Selby, g, Kansas.
50. Philadelphia (from New Orleans), Lavoy Allen, f, Temple.
51. Portland, John Diebler, g, Ohio State.
52. Detroit (from Denver), Vernon Macklin, f, Florida.
53. Orlando, DeAndre Liggins, g, Kentucky.
54. Cleveland (from Oklahoma City via Miami), Milan Macvan, f, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel).
55. Boston, E'Twaun Moore, g, Purdue.
56. L.A. Lakers, Chukwudiebere Maduabum, f, Bakersfield (NABDL).
57. k-Dallas, Tanguy Ngombo, f, Qatar.
58. L.A. Lakers (from Miami), Ater Majok, f, Gold Coast (Australia).
59. San Antonio, Adam Hanga, g, Budapest, Hungary.
60. Sacramento (from Chicago via Milwaukee), Isaiah Thomas, g, Washington.
a-acquired from in a three-way trade with Milwaukee and Sacramento.
b-acquired from in a three-way trade with Charlotte and Milwaukee.
c-traded to San Antonio for G George Hill.
d-acquired from in a three-way trade with Charlotte and Sacramento.
e-Minnesota and Houston traded selections.
f-Boston traded the rights to G Marshon Brooks to New Jersey for the rights to F JaJuan Johnson and a 2014 second-round draft pick.
j-traded to Orlando for two future second-round draft picks.
l-traded to New York for cash considerations.
m-traded F-C Jeremy Tyler to Golden State for financial considerations.
g-Minnesota traded rights to Nikola Mirotic for the rights to G Norris Cole and the rights to (No. 43 pick).
h-Minnesota traded the rights to G Norris Cole and to Miami for the rights to G Bojan Bogdanovic (No. 31 pick).
i-Dallas traded the rights to F Jordan Hamilton (No. 26 pick) to Denver.
k-Dallas traded the rights to F Tanguy Ngombo (No. 57 pick) to Portland.
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