Top 10 Players of the Bo Ryan Era- #1 Frank Kaminsky


In the process of compiling this list, there were many difficult decisions. Jordan Taylor versus Devin Harris for #3 was an impossible choice. As was Trévon Hughes versus Mike Wilkinson for #7. And I can’t even explain how hard it was to leave Brian Butch and Marcus Landry out of the top 10 after all they’ve done for the program. But this choice, number one, was by far the easiest. There is no doubt in my mind that Frank Kaminsky is the best player to ever play for Bo Ryan.

As a Freshman and Sophomore, Kaminsky was nothing but a gawky, awkward-looking bench warmer. His story is well documented by now. How he worked his tail off and became a star. How he became a symbol of Bo Ryan’s tenure, the under-recruited, under-appreciated scrub working hard and developing into a force in the Big 10.

Without Frank the Tank, the last two dream-like seasons for Wisconsin Basketball would never have existed. Without him, Michael Finley would still hold the Wisconsin record for points scored in a game.

Without his team high 14 points and 6 rebounds per game in his junior season, Wisconsin would never have become a two seed for just the second time under Bo Ryan. Without his 19 points against Oregon in the 2014 Round of 32, Wisconsin would have lost. Without his 19 points against Baylor in the Sweet 16, Wisconsin would have… well actually, they would have probably still won, because that was a complete annihilation. But without his 28 points and 11 rebounds against Elite 8 against #1 seed Arizona, which caused him to be named the West Region’s Most Outstanding Player, Wisconsin wouldn’t have stood a chance. Without Frank Kaminsky, Bo Ryan would never have gotten to his first Final Four.

This never would have happened.

Neither would this.

Frank Kaminsky returned for his senior season, feeling he still had more to prove. And thank God he did. Because with out his 19 points and 8 rebounds, Wisconsin probably wouldn’t have won the Big 10 Championship. Or the Big 10 Tournament. And without him, they definitely wouldn’t have been a one seed. Without Kaminsky, a badger player still would never have won National Player of the Year. Without Kaminsky’s 19 points, Wisconsin would never have beaten UNC. Without his 29, they would never have beaten Arizona. And without his game-high 20 points and 11 rebounds, Wisconsin would not have knocked off the undefeated Kentucky.

This would never have happened.

Apr 4, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari reacts on the sideline against the Wisconsin Badgers in the first half of the 2015 NCAA Men

Or this.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Or this.

Without Frank Kaminsky, all the memories that we get to cherish for the rest of our lives would never have been created. So called “basketball analysts” would still be yammering about how Bo Ryan couldn’t win in the tournament. The average fan would still claim that Wisconsin is mediocre, not on the same level as teams like UNC, Kentucky, or Duke.  Because of Kaminsky, we have at least two seasons of memories that us fans will never forget.  Alando Tucker was great. Devin Harris was too. And Lord knows I love Jordan Taylor. But Frank the Tank is beyond that. He’s elite.  He changed the narrative of Wisconsin basketball.

The Rest of Top 10

#2: Alando Tucker

#3: Devin Harris

#4: Jordan Taylor

#5: Jon Leuer

#6: Kirk Penney

#7: Trévon Hughes

#8: Mike Wilkinson

#9: Sam Dekker

#10: Captain America

Honorable Mention: Brian Butch, Kammron Taylor, Ben Brust