The RTC All-Big Ten Team: Wisconsin’s Frank KaminskyPosted by Deepak Jayanti on March 7th, 2014
Next up on our countdown of the RTC all-Big Ten team is Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky. Bo Ryan’s had a number of big men who could shoot over the past few years — Keaton Nankivil and Brian Butch, to name a couple — but Kaminsky is so unique because of his combined ability to drive to the basket and hit the perimeter shot with ease. Without Kaminsky’s 13.3 PPG, the Badgers wouldn’t be second in the Big Ten in offensive efficiency, averaging 1.13 points per possession. Outside of just pure scoring, his main contribution to the team is his versatility and flexibility.
Why Frank Kaminsky is the fifth best player in the league: During the first two months of the season, Kaminsky showed that he can put up points with ease, but the main reason behind his ranking here is his performance over the last five games. During a key stretch of the season, he averaged 17.4 PPG against the likes of Iowa, Indiana and Michigan. After a mid-season slump when the Badgers lost five of six games, Kaminsky led them back to top-15 status and making them a lock for a top-three NCAA seed. It is clear that he isn’t just a three-point shooter, as he has begun to attack the basket consistently with a signature turnaround move in the paint. Few big man defenders can come out to the perimeter to guard his three-point shot off the pick-and-roll and at the same time cycle back on defense if he chooses to take it to the rack. His versatility is indicated the following metrics: 62.9% TS and 41% 3FG.
Signature Moment: Yes, we understand that it was against North Dakota, but Kaminsky’s 43 points in mid-November put him on the radar as one of the explosive scorers in the Big Ten. Everybody knew that Sam Dekker would be the primary scoring option this year for Ryan, but Kaminsky’s performance left no doubts about who that second scoring option would be. Nailing 6-of-6 from the perimeter and hitting 10-of-13 shots from the field is impressive regardless of the opponent’s competency. If you are not impressed with the effort because it is North Dakota, then his 25 points against Michigan on the road should be enough evidence that he is a dominant scorer in the league.
Going Forward: In the near-term, it is likely that he could lead the Badgers back to the Sweet Sixteen, especially if the Badgers become a top-three seed. Beyond this season, there is no ceiling for Kaminsky’s game. Ryan’s players rarely leave early, and under the assumption that Kaminsky will continue that trend, he could average 15 PPG or more next season. Nigel Hayes will be a nice complement in the frontcourt, but along with Dekker, Kaminsky should have the green light to be the primary scoring option for the Badgers. His defense is a bit porous, but let’s not forget that this was his first full season playing in Ryan’s rotation. Opposing defenses won’t be able to just focus on Kaminsky because of Dekker’s expected growth, which will only make him more dangerous as a senior.