Prized Green Bay transfer Kerem Kanter explains why he chose Xavier Musketeers

CINCINNATI -- Xavier’s men’s basketball team on Tuesday landed highly sought graduate transfer Kerem Kanter, a 6-foot-10 post player who will use his final year of eligibility with the Musketeers.

Kanter, the younger brother of Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter, started his college basketball career at Green Bay. He averaged a team-second 11.3 points and team-best 6.3 rebounds in 31 games last season with the Horizon League team.

Once Kanter opened the door on transferring, the 240-pound player became a hot commodity.

“There were 41 schools that tried to recruit me and out of those, I only needed one visit to Xavier,” Kanter said by phone Tuesday. “Sometimes you have to go with your gut.”

Some of the schools that expressed interest in Kanter were Michigan State, Kansas, Kansas State, Connecticut, North Carolina State, Purdue, Baylor, Seton Hall, Pittsburgh, Boston College and Rhode Island, per ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman.

Kanter, who is immediately eligible, made an official visit with the Musketeers over the weekend and was taken with everything about the program -- its educational opportunities, style of play and ability to go deep in the NCAA tournament.

The Musketeers are coming of an Elite Eight run; Kanter has played in one NCAA tournament, a 2106 rout by Texas A&M in Oklahoma City in 2016.

More recently, Kanter scored 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting with six rebounds in 18 minutes of the Phoenix’s 92-82 loss to the University of Missouri-Kansas City in last month’s College Basketball Invitational.

“My visit with Xavier went really well and fit my expectations. All the little things added up,” Kanter said.

He said he’ll do whatever coach Chris Mack asks of him and plans to contribute as a scorer and a rebounder. Kanter adds a veteran post presence for an XU team that loses fifth-year senior RaShid Gaston.

Before he arrives on Xavier’s campus, Kanter will test the NBA draft waters without hiring an agent. He announced that decision March 24 on Twitter and will continue with that plan, seeking feedback from the pros that will prepare him for his future endeavors.

“By going to Xavier for year, it will help me chase my dreams of going pro in the NBA,” Kanter said.

Xavier assistant coach Luke Murray helped secure Kanter’s commitment, adding to an already-robust list of incoming prospects.

XU’s consensus Top 10 recruiting class features Paul Scruggs, Naji Marshall, Elias Harden, Kentrevious Jones and Jared Ridder

In January the Musketeers received a commitment from junior college transfer Brady Ernst, whose career started at Iowa State, but the 6-foot-9 player announced Tuesday evening that he is de-committing.

Wrote Ernst on Twitter: "After a lot of thought and talking with people I will be announcing that I have decided to de-commit from Xavier University and explore other options. I wanna thank Coach Mack for the opportunity he gave me and wish them the best of luck next year."

With Kanter, six newcomers are set to join the Musketeers’ program next year. Counting the returnees (a list that for now includes Trevon Bluiett, who’s testing the draft waters), Xavier has filled 12 of its 13 available scholarships for 2017-18.

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