Kanter: 'Be ready Utah Jazz fans: Undertaker is coming'
New York Official quotes following the Jazz's selections of Enes Kanter (No. 3) and Alec Burks (No. 12) Thursday in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Kanter Opening Comment "I'm so happy. I'm so excited. I know the Utah Jazz fans are crazy and I love them. I will bring the team toughness and post moves, rebounding everything. I will try to do everything to make the playoffs."
What was the feeling like when you heard your name at number three? "First of all, I felt great because it's the Utah Jazz. I have family there. Like Mehmet Okur plays there too, so it's kind of like my family. So I was very happy."
On the Jazz watching him practice back in November "I just tried to show my best. No one had seen me play yet so I just tried to show myself."
On playing one-on-one with Head Coach Tyrone Corbin in Chicago "It was great. He was really tough. I'm just looking forward to playing with him one-on-one. He's tough. I just want to say he's tough."
On not playing this last season "It was so difficult because I couldn't play. I still didn't give up. I knew in the end I would be fine. Right now, I'm trying to help the Utah Jazz. I'm trying to bring more energy and everything."
When did you realize you had skill in this game? "I knew my skill when I first played basketball. I knew myself."
Do you play other sports? "I play ping pong."
Closing Comments "I just want to say thank you to the Miller family. Be ready Utah Jazz fans; Undertaker is coming." On Jazz workout "(It) went great. I got to workout with Coach (Corbin) one-on-one and it was really tough and right now I'm looking forward to playing one-on-one again (with him)."
On what coaches told him after his workout "(They) told me to keep working hard and hopefully we'll see you soon and good luck in the draft. I felt very comfortable in talking to them."
On coming to Utah "I'm so happy the Utah Jazz picked me."
On his style "I love to play tough. I love to play in the post and rebound. Right now I'm working on my face-up game. I am going to work on bringing energy. I will go hard; (Salt Lake City) is my city now."
On playing with Mehmet Okur "I've never met him before, but I grew up following him a lot. I used to wake up at two or three in the morning to watch him. He's a good player and I believe he will teach me a lot."
On initial reaction of the Jazz selecting him "I'm just excited (Utah) chose me. I'm excited to get there and get to work. They are a great team with a great coaching staff."
On his workout with the Jazz "I felt like I had a great workout and I felt that was a big reason why they picked me with the 12th pick. I learned a lot about (the team) from the workout. I felt like I (would) be a great fit for them."
On his potential role with the team "They just want me to come in and play my game, so I'm just going to go and show them how I play. (I plan) on showing them my versatility and (validate) my pick (in the draft). At 6-6 I can play point guard, two-guard, I can score and make plays for others, I feel like I have a great overall game."
On his three-point shooting improvement "In college, I felt like I hit the big threes when I need to, so I feel like I can keep working on it and get a more consistent shot."
On coming to Salt Lake City "I feel great. I already know the area a little because I went to Colorado. I get to stay close to where I (played in college)."
On his confidence "I come from Missouri and when you come from Missouri, everyone has confidence. It's something that is instilled in me."
On being about to rebound at the two-guard position "I did that at a high-level at Colorado so I feel like I can bring that to the NBA." Reaction to the pick "I'm just glad to be in the NBA. I'm glad to go to a great organization like the Utah Jazz."
Do you have the desire to be great? "If I didn't have that, I wouldn't be in the position I am in today. So I definitely have that."
What do you bring to the Jazz? "Versatility, hard work, I'll do anything I need to do for the team to win."
How did you develop your one-on-one game? "With my athleticism and the way I handle the ball, I just feel like there aren't a lot of people that can stay in front of me."
Can you play point guard? "I feel like I can do that too. My versatility is a great asset to my game."
What was your impression of the Jazz when you came and worked out in Salt Lake? "It was great. They were cool and laid back. They gave me positive feedback. So I feel like it is a great organization."
When did you first feel like basketball would be your calling card? "I feel like after my freshman year in college. I went to a lot of camps and I was playing well against the best players in the country. I felt like I could do this for a living."
On being lightly recruited "That is what drives me to be better."
Who do you model your game after? "I'm like a young Tracy McGrady or Brandon Roy; both are very versatile players."
Impression of Head Coach Tyrone Corbin? "He was cool and real laid back. He just wanted us to work hard and if you work hard he is cool with that and I respect that."
Kevin O'Connor On the draft day overall"There was still an awful lot of discussion at 12. We had pretty much locked in at the top three picks. There was a lot of discussion at 12 right up until the end. We tried to separate both picks, but you can't do that totally."
On adding Kanter's size to the roster"If you were looking at him as a football player he is a north-south guy. He is not going to dazzle you with footwork, he is going to try and run over you. He gives us some length. To go along with what we have inside he gives Coach Corbin some options. You have to remember he's 19 years old and didn't play last year, but he is a willing worker and I think that is key. Here is a kid that didn't play last year and had a 5.9% body fat, and did as well as anybody on the treadmill."
Was Kanter the guy all along?"I wouldn't say all along, but it got clearer and clearer as we went through it."
Was adding toughness one of the biggest objectives in this draft?"I think it was the best player available at three. We did add a bit of toughness, but again he's a teenager. It will take a couple years to develop, maybe he's quicker than that. The thing I'd suggest you do is go back and look at the Hoops Summit tape, he got 34 points in 23 minutes and besides that he got 14 rebounds. Everywhere he's played he's rebounded. Even when he played at 17 in one of the best leagues over in Europe he rebounded the ball. Normally that transfers very well into the pros."
On depth at power forward and center"It's like starting pitching, you can never get enough of it. Big guys are tough to come by. We can certainly move Paul (Millsap) over to three at times and play some big lineups like the Lakers and some of the other big lineups. Maybe it will be good for competition."
What about Burks did you like?"His versatility. He has improved his shooting. We had him in the other day and he shot the ball well. He's not going to be a knock down three-point shooter, but in this league, in today's day and age when you can't put your hands on somebody, guys that are slashers and guys that get to the free throw line is what we want to see. He may even be able to play a little point guard. He has good skills with the ball. He's 19 and he has a chip on his shoulder. He wasn't highly recruited, he came into Colorado and had a terrific freshman year and improved in every year his sophomore year. He's 6-6, he's got a nice size for his position."
Were you surprised Burks was still available?"I haven't heard anybody say 'we had this guy later than 12 in this draft and we took him anyway.' The key was we were very comfortable with him. We had a lot of offers at 12 to trade and do that kind of stuff, but I think we were very comfortable with him at 12... We had some offers on the table if we didn't like the guy at 12 and we did like him."
Other things that sold you on Kanter?"We did our homework. We went in and saw him practice twice. We saw him in preseason and he worked so hard... We like his size and his motor. He is a willing worker. He is going to get better everyday. You get a big guy that will run the floor and work like he does, he will be successful."
Drafting without Coach Sloan"We miss him. We had been through this as a total staff for the last seven or eight years. We did very few things differently."
Brian T. Smith