Frank Kaminsky led Wisconsin to back-to-back Final Fours, including a national championship game appearance this past March, while also being the unanimous Player of the Year.
On Friday, Kaminsky penned a farewell letter to Wisconsin fans through his blog, The Moose Basketball:
When I got to Wisconsin I was a frail kid with lofty dreams who wanted to achieve something great. I realized at the time that it wasn’t going to happen immediately for me. It would take time to get where I wanted to be, but I had no clue how hard the process would be. I struggled through my freshman year. I fell behind in school, and in basketball. I was constantly frustrated and didn’t know what it took to succeed. I started thinking that Wisconsin was as good as it was gonna get for me. I started believing that I was not good enough, not smart enough, and didn’t have what it took to be great. Honestly, I needed to do a lot maturing. I hit a point where I was tired of feeling sorry for myself. That’s when I made a promise to myself that I would work as hard as I could and find out how much I could accomplish.
In the one-and-done era, Kaminsky is a rarity. He was only a three-star recruit coming out of high school and despite playing a limited role in his first two years he turned into an All-American. Through his first two seasons in Madison, he averaged less than nine minutes per game. As a junior and senior, he averaged 16.4 points and 7.3 boards per game.
The next two years are history. Big Ten Champions, Back-to-Back Final Fours, Final Four Runner-Up, Big Ten POY, National Player of the Year, and College Graduate. Our story as a team has been so well documented that there really is no need to go into it here with any great detail. But I will say this, it was the best time of my entire life. Every single day was better than the previous one. I have no regrets at all about my basketball career at Wisconsin, especially because no one expected me to achieve what I achieved except me.
Kaminsky is a projected lottery pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, according to DraftExpress.com.
Already the most decorated player in the history of the Wisconsin basketball program, 7-footer Frank Kaminsky added another major national award Friday morning.
Kaminsky was announced as the winner of the John R. Wooden Award, his fourth major National Player of the Year honor of the season. The Big Ten Player of the Year also won Player of the Year awards from the USBWA (Oscar Robertson Award) and Associated Press, and he was also the winner of the Naismith Trophy.
Kaminsky received all three of those awards at the Final Four last weekend.
Kaminsky helped lead the Badgers to a 36-4 record, the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles and their first national title game appearance since 1941. Projected to be a first round pick in this year’s NBA Draft, Kaminsky posted averages of 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 blocks per game.
Rounding out the top five in the voting for the Wooden Award were Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein, Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant and Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell.
One of the hot-button topics in the aftermath of No. 1 Wisconsin’s win over No. 1 Kentucky Saturday night was the offensive statement muttered by Kentucky guard Andrew Harrison in response to teammate Karl-Anthony Towns being asked a question about Wisconsin senior big man Frank Kaminsky.
Shortly after the comment came to light Harrison took to Twitter to apologize for his actions, and he also reached out to Kaminsky personally regarding the matter. During Wisconsin’s media availability on Sunday both Kaminsky and head coach Bo Ryan were asked about the incident, with both acknowledging the situation and the fact that Harrison reached out to apologize for his words.
“Yeah, he reached out to me,” Kaminsky said. “We talked about it. Over it. Nothing needs to be made out of it.”
“Yeah, in this day and age, it always reminds all of us,” Ryan added when asked if this can serve as a “teachable moment.” “It reminds us that whatever we say can and will be heard, it seems. So, yeah, the teaching moment is the individual himself learned from it obviously by reaching out to Frank. So we’ll leave it at that.”
It’s pretty clear that Wisconsin simply wants to move on to the task at hand, which for them is their national title game against No. 1 Duke Monday night. And the Badgers’ situation can be compared to the one that Mike Krzyzewski’s first national title team experienced in 1991.
Duke beat then-undefeated UNLV 79-77 in the national semifinals, and their win (somewhat) avenged a 30-point loss to the Runnin’ Rebels in the 1990 national title game. While there was some celebrating the Blue Devils hadn’t achieved their goal at that point, which was to win the national title. Duke was able to do that two nights later against Kansas.