If you are from Kentucky, you probably know who Enes Kanter is. The freshman from Turkey and top recruit was declared permanently ineligible by the NCAA recently. Kentucky appealed the decision and the appeal apparently took place on Wednesday. If my twitter feed is any indication, the entire BBN and beyond went on Enes watch as news spread that a final ruling could come before the weekend. ETA: "Free Enes Friday" came and went. News followed that in light of the recent ruling on Cam Newton, UK would submit new information on the Kanter decision. Since new information cannot be submitted to the appeal board, the entire case would essentially start over and head back to the NCAA reinstatement staff.
If you have been around campus or to a game recently, you have more than likely noticed Enes. At 6'11", he is virtually impossible to miss. I first caught a glimpse of him at Big Blue Madness. His surprise entrance as "The UnderKanter" had the Big Blue Nation rocking Rupp to its rafters.
Seeing Enes being forced to watch his teammates play from the bench was a disheartening sight. You couldn't help but feel sorry for the kid who wants nothing more than to play basketball as a Wildcat.
Enes acknowledges the faithful chanting "Free Enes" as he leaves the floor.
From the moment "Free Enes" was written on a fan blog, a phenomenon was born. From shirts to signs and even a song, there was no escaping the new Kentucky rally cry.
I next saw Enes at the Blue and White Game at Rupp Arena, once again forced to support his teammates from the bench. He was a little more animated in this appearance, smiling at times and wearing his Undertaker t-shirt in keeping with his new nickname, "The UnderKanter."
My next Enes sighting was at the UK Hoops season opener against Morehead State. It struck me just how much of a typical student he has become-from attending classes to casually taking in a game with friends. He has some tough decisions to make if the appeal is not successful. I am sure it will be a real heartbreak for everyone, especially for Enes, if he leaves campus.
So as the Big Blue Nation prays for an early Christmas present, the NCAA deliberates and a young man's future hangs in the balance.
Best of luck to you Enes!
Here is a video compilation of some of the many "Free Enes" creations made by fans and supporters.