WASHINGTON D.C. - Enes Kanter was in a declaratory mood today, showing a confidence that fellow SB Nation blogger Tom Martin described as him "not giving a f***." While I wouldn't quite go that far -- that implies he was snarly, and it was more that he was exceedingly confident -- he definitely did talk with an edge.
Especially when he said he was the best player in this year's draft.
"I believe if I could have played [at Kentucky], I would go with the No. 1 pick," he said. "I believe I am the best player in this draft."
Kanter also said he thinks Kentucky would have won the title easily if he stayed, which may or may not be true. The big mystery with Kanter is that, no matter how much scouting you do, projecting whether he is the player he says he would have been at Kentucky involves more guesswork than usual, because there's just no evidence of it. I, for one, loved his confidence.
Other Kanter stuff that is more to the point (we already discussed his line about coming to the Wizards):
Kanter on whether it was tough to sit out a year:
"It was really hard because I came here for an education too. When the NCAA told me, 'No, you cannot play,' it just makes me sad because I couldn't help my teammates, I couldn't help my coaches and I couldn't help Kentucky. I came here for an education too, because you cannot do that in Turkey. You have to pick basketball, or you have to pick education. I wanted to do both, so that's why I came here. For them to tell me, 'No, you cannot play' just makes me really sad."
Kanter on his relationship with John Wall:
"I asked him about Washington D.C. and if I would like it there. He said it was an amazing city, and I'm talking to him all the time."
Kanter on his workout with the Wizards last Friday:
"Workout went really really well. I shot the ball well, and I tried to run hard and play hard. It was a real good practice."
Funny note on that: the man going against Kanter during drills in the post was assistant coach Don Zierden, who is one of the shortest assistant coaches in the league. When someone mentioned this, Kanter laughed and said "I didn't try to hurt him too bad."
Kanter on how he'd respond to people who were worried about how little he played last year (this I found interesting).
"I'm not worried about anything. Even if I could have played, I would have just played like, 22-24 games, because we'd have won many games by 30. I don't think I missed anything."
Kanter on how he tried to simulate a game experience (which I had to ask him a couple different ways to help him understand what I meant).
"It was really tough, because you're not playing a game; you're just practicing. Every practice was my game. I just tried to gear myself 100 percent in practice, because I couldn't play in the games. Coach Calipari told me, 'Every practice is your game. Just go as hard as you can.'"
Note: on the other guys - I didn't get a chance to speak all that much to Jan Vesely and Kawhi Leonard, because they came out with Derrick Williams, and I have a feature to write on Williams for SBNation.com. I'll post what I got from them in a bit.