Cats in the NBA: Kanter Emerging

In this new KentuckyScout feature, staff writer Nick Jones tracks the former Kentucky Wildcats in the NBA, including Enes Kanter, who had a breakout game with the Utah Jazz.

While Enes Kanter never officially suited up for Kentucky during his lone year in Lexington, Wildcat fans still claim the Turkish center as one of their own.

The second-year pro has been largely limited to a reserve role for the Utah Jazz, but injuries to veteran teammates Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap this season have given him an opportunity to step into the spotlight.

On Friday against Charlotte, the 6-foot-11 Kanter posted career highs of 23 points and 22 rebounds while logging 44 mintues for the Jazz in a 98-68 win.

"It was a really good opportunity," Kanter told the Associated Press after the blowout victory. "Big Al was injured. Paul was injured. It was me trying to do my job."

With such a dominant performance from what had previously been a role player, Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin may be more apt to call on Kanter as the season continues to progress.

While one former Wildcat has seen a bigger opportunity develop, another has not. Patrick Patterson, who was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Sacramento Kings on February 20, has seen a significant decline in his role since joining his new club.

Patterson, who was in the midst of a breakout season before the trade, has yet to make his first start with the Kings and is averaging just 16 minutes in five games. The trade may have been an attempt to continue the development of third-year center and franchise cornerstone, DeMarcus Cousins, who played with Patterson at UK during the 2009-10 season.

The injury bug is something that No. 1 pick Anthony Davis has struggled to stay away from throughout his first NBA season. In his last outing against the Brooklyn Nets, the 6-foot-10 forward left the game in the third quarter with an injury to his left shoulder.

Davis did not return as Keith Bogans and the Nets topped the Hornets 101-97. Bogans scored 12 in the victory.

Davis was not available for action in consecutive games against the Thunder or Pistons due to his strained shoulder, but is expected to play in Monday's 8:00 p.m. ET matchup with the Orlando Magic and former college teammate, Doron Lamb.

Week 19

Tuesday, March 5
L.A. Lakers (Meeks) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (Liggins, Orton) 9:30 p.m. on TNT

Wednesday, March 6
Chicago Bulls (Muhammad, Teague) @ San Antonio Spurs 9:00 p.m. on ESPN

Thursday, March 7
Oklahoma City Thunder (Liggins, Orton) @ New York Knicks 8:00 p.m. on TNT
L.A. Clippers (Bledsoe) @ Denver Nuggets 10:30 p.m. on TNT

Friday, March 8
Houston Rockets (Jones) @ Golden State Warriors 10:30 p.m. on ESPN

Sunday, March 10
Oklahoma City Thunder (Liggins, Orton) vs. Boston Celtics 1:00 p.m. on ABC
Chicago Bulls (Muhammad, Teague) @ L.A. Lakers (Meeks) 3:30 p.m. on ABC

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