North Carolina State’s prized international recruit Omer Yurtseven will miss only the first nine games of the season for the Wolfpack, the NCAA ruled on Monday. He will have to repay $1,000, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
There was worry that the seven-foot center would suffer the same fate as Enes Kanter, who was once ruled ineligible for an entire season with Kentucky after the league found that he received benefits above his necessary expenses while playing for a Turkish club.
Yurtseven played for Turkish club Fenerbahçe for three seasons, and his coach, Zeljko Obradovic, told Euro Hoops that the team paid him for the last three years. Yurtseven responded by telling Draft Express, “It is correct that they put money into an account that they opened up in my name, but I didn’t want it or ask for it.”
Whatever happened, it will only cost him an inconsequential portion of the season, though it will slow down his adjustment period to the collegiate game.
Yurtseven is known for scoring 91 points on 34-of-49 shooting in a Turkish U18 game this summer two days prior to his commitment to NC State. He was also seen in an exhibition game against the Brooklyn Nets, where he scored eight points and grabbed seven rebounds in 20 minutes of play.
A season without Yurtseven would have been a big blow to Mark Gottfried and the Wolfpack, as they are expected to make noise in the crowded ACC. The team landed five-star point guard Dennis Smith, a 6’2, 195-pound wrecking ball who — with Yurtseven — is expected to lift NC State from a tough 16-17 record from a year ago. Even with the uncertainty of Yurtseven, NC State received 29 votes in the AP Poll, placing seven spots out of the top 25.
With Yurtseven, the projected No. 21 pick in next year’s draft, missing just nine games and only two against serious non-conference competition in Illinois, and possibly Creighton in the Paradise Jam tournament, NC State will still have a chance to prove itself with a full lineup against the Dukes, North Carolinas, and Virginias of the ACC.