Duke basketball program should set up hammock in shade from Kentucky

(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images) /

Another day, another ill-advised shot from the Bluegrass State as former Kentucky commit Enes Kanter throws shade at Zion Williamson’s game ahead of the Duke basketball standout’s rookie season.  

On an episode of The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Wednesday, Enes Kanter came up with an odd comparison when he postulated that the Duke basketball program’s fourth all-time No. 1 overall pick, Zion Williamson, is overhyped.

"“I kind of feel like he’s overhyped,” Kanter said. “I feel like he’s Julius Randle with hops.”“That’s how I believe. Some players are even scared to say it, but you know me, I’m not scared to say anything.”"

Now, Kanter never actually made it to the floor for Kentucky after the NCAA ruled him permanently ineligible due to the over $33,000 in compensation he received playing for Turkish youth squad Fenerbahçe.  But it seems an especially odd comparison to bring a former Kentucky standout, in Julius Randle, into this bizarre world view.

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First, “Julius Randle with hops” sounds like a real-life Monstar, ready to pack up all the Looney Tunes for a trip to Moron Mountain.  Randle currently holds the KU freshman record for double-doubles with 24 from his lone college season in 2013-2014.  I’m sure he had to hop up and grab a few of those rebounds.

Add to that the fact that Randle is coming off clearly the best year of his pro career.  He averaged 21.4 PPG and 8.7 RPG in his first season with New Orleans, all while shooting 34% from 3-point range, up from 22% last year.

Kanter, meanwhile, averaged just 13.1 PPG with 8.6 RPG over 23 games with Portland last season.

Randle caught wind of the slight and reminded Kanter that he may want to keep the big man’s name out of his mouth or learn to play some defense, an area Kanter has struggled with throughout his NBA career.

As for Zion, that’s not a bad rookie stat line at all.  Early projections for his rookie year put him at 18.7 PPG, 8.7 RPG, and 3.8 APG, not far off of Randle’s production.  Personally, I think he’s closer to 22 PPG as his outside shooting improves as it did toward the end of his lone season with the Blue Devils.

This will certainly be a fun match-up to keep our eyes on as the NBA season gets underway.  Will Zion follow in Randle’s footsteps and hang 45 on Kanter, or will those extra hops net him a few more points?

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Stay tuned to find out!