Wisconsin may have never seen a player transformation quite as dramatic as this one.
Certainly, no player in the country has risen from a relatively unknown player to a sensational game-changer like junior center Frank Kaminsky has this year.
Frank “The Tank” Kaminsky is now regarded as the biggest matchup problem in the Final Four and was named the NCAA Tournament West Regional MVP. The 7-footer was named MVP because he dropped 28 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the Badgers’ thrilling overtime victory over 1-seed Arizona. And because he averaged 18.5 points-per-game in the Badgers’ four tournament games.
Sometimes it seems as though no one can guard him. Whether making remarkable moves down on the block or out on the perimeter hitting three-pointers with regularity — no one can stop him. But Kaminsky isn’t just playing great offense. He blocked six shots in Wisconsin’s decimation over the Baylor Bears in the Sweet Sixteen.
Kaminsky is the most complete player on the Badgers’ roster. And that’s saying a lot when you’re on a team that boasts a record of 30-7. But those 30 wins are even more impressive when your team played one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation, played in the Big Ten, the Big Ten Tournament and four NCAA Tournament games.
Of course, we knew early on this year that Kaminsky could be quite the scorer. Remember his 43-point performance against North Dakota earlier this year? Foreshadowing for his emergence in the NCAA Tournament? Indeed.
This NCAA Tournament is Kaminsky’s national coming out party. Yeah, he’s been phenomenal all year, leading the team scoring at 13.6 points-per-game, but his play of late has led the Badgers to the Final Four.
“Frank Kaminsky is the reason Wisconsin’s in the Final Four,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said.
He sure is. He’s hit numerous big shots for the Badgers all year but came up clutch when Wisconsin needed him the most; against Arizona. His buckets from the post down the stretch of the Elite Eight contest will go down in Badgers lore.
Kaminsky averaged 4.2 points-per-game as a sophomore. He nearly added 10 points-per-game to his offensive output this year. Quite an amazing coming of age for the Badgers center. He was recognized for his play this year before the Big Dance, too. He was named First Team All-Big Ten, too. That speaks to his consistency on both ends of the court.
The Big Ten was the nation’s top conference all year and backed that up by sending three teams to the Elite Eight. Kaminsky was the top center in the conference. I’ll let you make the connection there. But as it stands, Wisconsin is the only Big Ten team in the Final Four. The hopes of a conference now stand with Bucky.
He has had an amazing year, Wisconsin has had an amazing year but he’s not ready for it to end quite yet. Kaminsky said,
“We want a national championship now…We have made it to the opportunity to get there, so why not go get it?”
That’s right. Why not go and get it? The Final Four will be quite a treat to watch as Bo Ryan attempts to secure Wisconsin’s first National Championship since 1941.
Kaminsky will be talked about as much as any player leading up to the Final Four. He even made it onto the official Final Four Program put out by the NCAA. He deserved it.
Here is an post-game interview after Wisconsin clinched its Final Four berth. How can you not be excited for him and the other Badgers?
If Kaminsky can play against Kentucky in North Texas like he did against Arizona, Wisconsin will find itself in the National Championship Game.
Keep on Kaminsky, and keep on Wisconsin.