With the University of Wisconsin formally posting its head basketball coach opening on Friday, athletic director Barry Alvarez has taken the next step in the process of naming a successor for the retired Bo Ryan. Under state law, which is common for public institutions, before a hire can be made the position needs to be posted publicly and there have to be multiple interviews of candidates.
Does this mean that interim head coach Greg Gard will be the choice? That remains anyone’s guess, but the timing is seen by many as a positive development for the coach who has led the Badgers to nine wins in their last ten games. Gard, who served as Ryan’s assistant throughout the latter’s tenure in Madison, certainly has his supporters with one being former Wisconsin big man Frank Kaminsky.
Kaminsky discussed the matter on his “Year One” radio show that he co-hosts with Justin Termine on Sirius/XM NBA Radio, noting that he’s “going to be very upset if [Gard] does not have the job come next year.”
Termine: “And just by talking to other people is that the direction a lot of the former players want them to go in, with Greg Gard?”
Kaminsky: “Yeah, absolutely. It’s what everyone wants. It’s what everyone’s always wanted. That’s why he stuck around for so long. I mean, he definitely had opportunities to take other head coaching jobs, he just didn’t want to do it because he wanted this job. And now he’s done it and now he’s doing very well with it and I think he deserves to keep it moreso than anyone else. You’d hate to have some tradition that he and Coach Ryan built together just be handed to someone else.”
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After losing four of its first five Big Ten games, Wisconsin’s now 10-5 in conference play after picking up a 67-59 win at No. 8 Iowa Wednesday night. Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig have led the way, but the strides made by players such as forward Ethan Happ and Vitto Brown have been just as important for the Badgers. That’s helped Wisconsin, which at one point this season appeared destined for the NIT, develop into a team capable of having success in next month’s NCAA tournament.
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.
Wisconsin senior forward Frank Kaminsky picked up a major award Friday morning, as he was named winner of the Oscar Robertson Trophy by the United States Basketball Writers Association. The award is given to the winner of the association’s national Player of the Year vote, and Kaminsky was also named Player of the Year by the Associated Press.
The 6-foot-11 Kaminsky, who was named Big Ten Player of the Year last month, has helped lead the Badgers to their second consecutive Final Four appearance and the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. Kaminksy leads the Badgers in a number of categories, including scoring (18.7 ppg), rebounding (8.0 rpg), assists, field goal and three-point percentage.
“This is obviously a great award and I am honored to receive it,” Kaminsky said. “I have to thank my family, who have really helped me grow as a person and grow as a basketball player. I’m just so honored to receive this award.”
Also at the ceremony in Indianapolis were the trophy’s namesake, Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan and all of Frank’s teammates. Nigel Hayes and Sam Dekker also managed to get involved in the question and answer session after Kaminsky was given the trophy.
The John R. Wooden Award announced five finalists for the nation’s most outstanding college basketball player on Monday.
The group is highlighted by three players who will participate in the Final Four. Wisconsin senior center Frank Kaminsky, Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor, Kentucky junior center Willie Cauley-Stein, Notre Dame senior guard Jerian Grant and Ohio State freshman guard D’Angelo Russell are the five finalists.
The winner will be announced April 10 at 8 p.m. ET on the College Basketball Awards Show.
The Wooden All-Americans were also announced, with Wichita State junior guard Ron Baker, Northern Iowa senior forward Seth Tuttle, Virginia junior guard Malcolm Brogdon, Utah senior guard Delon Wright and Gonzaga junior Kyle Wiltjer joining the five national player of the year candidates.