Wisconsin’s Kaminsky is unanimous first-team All-American
MADISON -- University of Wisconsin senior Frank Kaminsky on Monday was a unanimous choice on the 2014-15 Associated Press All-American team. Kaminsky, who leads UW in scoring (18.2 points), rebounds (8.0), assists (2.7), blocks (1.5) and field-go...
MADISON - University of Wisconsin senior Frank Kaminsky on Monday was a unanimous choice on the 2014-15 Associated Press All-American team.
Kaminsky, who leads UW in scoring (18.2 points), rebounds (8.0), assists (2.7), blocks (1.5) and field-goal shooting (54.9 percent), has helped the Badgers reach the Final Four for the second consecutive season.
The Badgers’ only other AP first-team pick was Alando Tucker (2007).
“It’s cool to be named first-team All-American. It’s something you dream of as a kid,” Kaminsky said in a news release. “To finally be able to do so, it’s a good thing and it shows how hard I’ve worked in my career. To be up there with Alando Tucker is a pretty cool thing.”
Rounding out the first team: Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor, Kentucky junior Willie Cauley-Stein, Notre Dame senior Jerian Grant and Ohio State freshman D’Angelo Russell.
Kaminsky averaged just 7.7 minutes and 1.8 points per game as a freshman. His numbers as a sophomore improved to 10.3 minutes and 4.2 points. He blossomed as a junior and averaged 13.9 points and 6.3 rebounds in 27.2 minutes per game and has had his best season as a senior.
“Not to be overly patriotic, but we’re an American story, that you can do that in this kind of a system,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “Sometimes where it looks like the privileged, the ones that are identified as being great players and can’t-miss-type guys, where there can always come that guy from behind in the race and then cross the tape first.
“Frank is that guy who got a little bit later start as far as people noticing his abilities, but that’s just a great accomplishment on his part. ... He took advantage of a chance and has made the most of it.”
Kaminsky has consistently said he isn’t interested in securing individual honors. Rather, his focus has been on helping Wisconsin to return to the Final Four.
That determination came through in his comments after the Badgers’ 85-78 victory over Arizona in the West Region title game.
“You come back to school for moments like this,” he said. “To share it with your teammates, your friends, the people you’ve been with the last four years of your life, very significant people that are going to be in the rest of your life as well.
“A moment like this is the most memorable moments of our lives, and I’m sure we’ll remember this for a very long time, every single guy on this team. I can’t be more grateful for the opportunity that the school has given me to be put in this position. I’m just so happy right now.”
University of Kentucky coach John Calipari, whose unbeaten team faces Wisconsin in the national semifinals Saturday in Indianapolis, sees a better player this season. The Wildcats consistently double-teamed Kaminsky in their 74-73 Final Four victory last season and limited him to eight points, seven field-goal attempts and five rebounds.
“He looks stronger,” Calipari said on the Final Four coaches’ teleconference. “He’s working angles better. He is a really confident perimeter shooter. Because he gets double-teamed so much he is passing better.
“I love when I see players from year to year get better. Whether it is my players or another player, that is what gets me. That means they’re committed. They understand the grind.
“And Frank is about his team now. He’ll go get 29 (points) or he’ll go get eight and he’ll have seven assists.
“I imagine Bo has had a ball watching him go from three minutes a game ... to where he is now.”