Kerem Kanter Always Has Big Brother Enes in His Corner

March can be the kindest and cruelest of months for a college basketball player.

One minute you’re a relatively unknown player in Michigan named Jordan Poole, the next you’ve hit a ridiculous, game-winning 3-pointer and you’re being confused with Oscar winner Jordan Peele.

But what becomes of the players whose shot doesn’t drop? How do they reconcile the fact that a college career just came to a gut-retching end?

If your Xavier’s Kerem Kanter, you’re one of the lucky ones. Kanter missed a 3 in the waning seconds and Florida State ousted the No.1-seeded Musketeers, 75-70, last Sunday in a second-round game. But he has a brother that has always had his back.

[Read More From Lenn Robbins]

Kerem felt he had let down his teammates, coaches, the Xavier community and, most of all, himself. Then he called his brother, Knicks center Enes Kanter, and that missed shot suddenly didn’t seem all that heartbreaking.

“He told me it wasn’t the end of the world,’’ Kerem told MSGNetworks.com. “It’s part of basketball. Sometimes you make a shot. Sometimes you don’t. In a couple of days, no one’s going to remember who made or missed a last-second shot because it’s just a game. You were lucky enough to play in it.’’

[Watch Knicks-Timberwolves Friday on MSG & MSG GO. Download the app for free.]

Big brother’s words helped, but he wasn’t done helping his kid brother. Enes, 25, invited Kerem, 22, to New York. Kerem will see his brother play in a Knicks uniform for the first time Friday night when the Timberwolves come to The Garden. Kerem played in the World’s Most Famous Arena just weeks ago in the Big East Tournament.

“It was awesome,’’ said Kerem. “It’s what everyone says. The bright lights. There’s so much going on. It will be a big lift to see him play.’’

The truth is Xavier’s game against the Seminoles should never have come down to the last shot. The Musketeers led 61-50 with 8:45 left. They looked every bit liked the No. 1 seed in the West and the Big East regular season champs.

Then the pressure of that high seed and Final Four expectations snowballed. Xavier finished with 11 missed free throws and 18 turnovers.

Yet with 11 seconds left, the Musketeers still had a chance. They trailed 73-70. Out of a timeout, Kerem popped open at the top of the key. He launched a 3, but it wasn’t on target.

“That’s what happens in March,’’ said Kerem. “Both teams knew only one was going to keep playing. Everyone on both teams played their heart out.’’

Kerem, a 6-foot-10, 240-pound low-post player much like his 6-foot-11, 245-pound brother, said he’d like to play professionally. His path to pro ball will differ from his Enes, who didn’t play college ball. Kerem played three seasons at Wisconsin-Green Bay before transferring to Xavier for his graduate senior season.

“I started playing basketball because of my brother,’’ said Kerem. “I went to one of his practices when we lived in Turkey and I wanted to be just like him.

“He’s a professional in everything he does. If he says he has to be somewhere at 2, he’s there at 2. If he says he needs to go to sleep at 10, he goes to sleep at 10. He’s been my mentor my whole life.’’

[Watch Knicks-Timberwolves Friday on MSG & MSG GO. Download the app for free.]

The Garden of Dreams Foundation helps kids facing obstacles in the Tri-State area, including Rangers fan Taylor Ryan who is battling a rare blood disorder called Langerhans cell histiocytosis.