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Frank Kaminsky on returning to school: the NBA ‘looks flat out boring’

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Frank Kaminsky is one of the best quotes in college basketball. He’s smart, he’s witty and he’s not afraid to call it like he sees it.

On Wednesday, Frank the Tank wrote a letter to Wisconsin fans on his blog detailing out his entire thought process on why he made the decision to return to school. And, quite frankly, it might make you like him even more.

“I am at the pinnacle of my basketball playing career, at least in my eyes,” Kaminsky wrote. “I know the NBA has their crazy fans and all, but if you look at all of their games, there are games when teams like the Bobcats get hardly any fans, and it looks flat out boring. At the Kohl Center, we play in front of nearly 17,000 fans every single time we step onto the court. When we travel, we play in front of sell out crowds who absolutely hate us. Not because of who is on the team, but because of where we go to school. Who could leave that?”

The ‘flat out boring’ line is going to be the one that gets repeated over and over again because, well, it’s funny! How often do you actually hear an athlete give it to you straight like that?

But it will also make you overlook a bigger point that Kaminsky is making: he’s happy where he is, and while he admits that he gets frustrated about “looking in my bank account at the end of the month and seeing $20 left in there” and that pursuing an NBA career is a dream of his, he’s also a realist when it comes to his potential as a pro.

“I sat down and thought about it for a long time, and I kept coming back to the same exact point,” Kaminsky wrote. “I don’t think I would be able to live with the regret of skipping my last year of college to be a potential D-League player or end up in Europe. I have no doubt in my mind that I would have been drafted. I believe that one day I will be put on an NBA roster, but that doesn’t happen right away for most people. Especially for a 7 foot white kid with average athleticism.”

“I am going to be honest, I absolutely love college. Call me Joe College if you please,” he added. “The NBA can wait. The NBA isn’t going anywhere, so neither am I. I know my benefits of coming back to school just as well as I know my risks.”

Kaminsky averaged 13.9 points and 6.3 boards while shooting 37.8% from three as a seven-footer. He’s got the skill set offensively to carve out a career in the NBA, but he has the deficiencies athletically and defensively that could turn him into a career-Euroball player. Next season, he’ll be an all-american on a top five team that will play just about every game on national television.

He’s passing up money by returning to school.

But coming back ensures that he’ll leave Wisconsin as one of the best to come through the program.

You may have done differently, but it seems like this was an easy decision for Kaminsky to make.

No. 1 Kentucky survives without Tyler Ulis in lineup

Tyler Ulis
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Less than a week after giving No. 2 Maryland all they could handle, Illinois State went into Lexington and gave No. 1 Kentucky fits.

The Redbirds never really threatened UK in the second half, but they went into the break tied and were within single digits down the stretch, eventually losing 75-63.

Kentucky was flustered. They turned the ball over 15 times compared to just eight assists, they shot 2-for-12 from three and just 29-for-46 (63 percent) from the charity stripe. They simply did not handle Illinois State’s pressure all that well.

And there was a reason for that.

Tyler Ulis didn’t play.

Sometimes it’s difficult to appreciate just what a player brings to a team until that player is not in the lineup, and that was precisely the case with Ulis on Monday night. It was crystal clear what he provides Kentucky. Beyond leadership and the ability to break a press without throwing the ball to the other team, he’s a calming presence. He doesn’t get rattled when a defender is harassing him and he doesn’t get overwhelmed by a situation like a mid-major threatening the No. 1 team in the country in their own gym.

He’s everything you look for in a pure point guard, and for as good as Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe have looked at times this season, it should be crystal clear who the most important player on this Kentucky team is.

LSU loses to Charleston, eliminates at-large bid margin for error

Ben Simmons
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Ben Simmons scored 15 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, the second time in his six-game career that the LSU freshman has collected that many caroms, but that wasn’t enough for the Tigers to avoid dropping a game on the road to the College of Charleston, 70-58. It was the third straight loss for Simmons’ crew, as they fell to Marquette and N.C. State at the Legends Classic last week.

But here’s the thing: LSU didn’t just lose.

The game really wasn’t close.

LSU was down by as many as 23 points. It was 39-17 at the half, and that was after Charleston had a shot at the buzzer called off upon review. They made a bit of a run in the second half but never got closer than seven. When LSU would cut into the lead, the Cougars would respond with a run of their own, killing LSU’s spirit while keeping them at arm’s length.

[RELATED: Ben Simmons’ one college year a waste?]

Now, there are quite a few things here to discuss. For starters, LSU’s effort was, at best, apathetic, and, at worst, regular old pathetic. The team has a serious lack of leadership that was plainly evident on Monday night; would Fred VanVleet let his team fold against a program picked to finish at the bottom of the SoCon? Would Tyler Ulis? For that matter, would Tom Izzo or Mike Krzyzewski or John Calipari?

Perhaps more importantly, does any of that change when Keith Hornsby and Craig Victor get back?

Simmons did show off his potential — 18 boards, four assists, he even made his first three of the year — but he also showed precisely why there are scouts that are trying to curtail the LeBron James comparisons. Simmons was 4-for-15 from the floor with seven turnovers against a mediocre mid-major team. There are so many things that Simmons does well, but scoring efficiently — particularly in half court setting — and shooting the ball consistently are not on that list.

But here’s the biggest issue: LSU may have put themselves in a situation where they aren’t a tournament team. As of today, they’re 3-3 on the season with losses to a pair of teams that, at best, seem destined to be in the bubble conversation on Selection Sunday in addition to this loss to Charleston. The rest of their non-conference schedule is ugly. The only game worth noting is at home against No. 6 Oklahoma at the end of January.

The NCAA factors in non-conference schedule strength when determining at-large teams. You need to at least try, and LSU didn’t try; they have one of the worst non-conference schedules in the country.

The great thing about being in the SEC — as opposed to, say, the Missouri Valley — is that the Tigers will have plenty of chances to earn marquee wins. Six, by my court: Kentucky twice, Texas A&M twice, Vanderbilt on the road and Oklahoma at home. They probably need to win at least two or three of those games to have a real chance, and that’s assuming they can avoid anymore horrid losses in the process.

The season isn’t over six games in, not by any stretch of the imagination.

But LSU has done a hell of a job eliminating their margin for error.