Frank Kaminsky set to take on new role for Badgers
JUL 01, 2013 2:21p ET
MADISON, Wis. -- Frank Kaminsky has appeared in 68 basketball games during his two seasons at the University of Wisconsin. He has played more than half of a game for the Badgers just once.
That number is significant because it figures to change considerably when the 2013-14 season arrives. Kaminsky, a 6-foot-11, 230-pound junior, is one of the most experienced frontcourt players on Wisconsin's roster and would appear in line to take over the starting center role for graduated senior Jared Berggren. And it is an opportunity Kaminsky has waited for since he arrived on campus.
"Even when I came in here, I knew something like this could happen," Kaminsky said. "They were going to be here two years and they were going to be gone. I've been preparing for it since Day 1. Hopefully everything I've worked for is paying off."
Last season, Kaminsky appeared in 32 of 35 games while averaging 4.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 10.3 minutes per game. His playing time fluctuated, and it took a direct hit when he sustained an eye injury early in a game against Indiana on Jan. 15, which forced him out of the next three games.
Given that Berggren played so well -- and coach Bo Ryan typically only uses one center on the floor at a time -- Kaminsky struggled to get back consistently in the rotation. But Kaminsky is hoping his development as a college player mirrors that of Berggren.
Berggren averaged 6.9 minutes per game as a sophomore and jumped to 27.8 minutes as a junior. He started his final 71 games with the team over his last two seasons. Now, Berggren is set to play for the Orlando Magic's summer league team.
"He really set the bar high for me as a person with his weight room records and how he works on the floor," Kaminsky said. "If I didn't have someone like that, if I had some lazy person, I feel like it would be a lot different. His work ethic really changed a lot of things about me."
Specifically, Kaminsky said he developed an affinity for Qdoba near the end of his freshman season. Not coincidentally, he noticed he wasn't developing his body as well as he wanted and changed his diet in the offseason. And he looked at Berggren as a role model of sorts -- someone who got everything out of his 6-foot-10 frame.
"I went to the grocery store," Kaminsky said. "I bought myself groceries. No going to Qdoba like I was last year. It was much different last year. I've known to cook all along. It was just the ease factor. I like making a lot of pasta and chicken and stuff like that."
Kaminsky fits the mold of past Wisconsin big men with his ability to post up and step out to shoot 3-pointers. Last season, he connected on 14 of 45 3-pointers (31.1 percent), though he did make four in one game against Samford. He also nailed two 3s in three minutes against Indiana before suffering his eye injury.
Much of Ryan's lineup could hinge on how Kaminsky plays because he is one of just two players on the roster that stands taller than 6-8. Evan Anderson, a 6-10 junior, has played a total of 73 minutes in his career and doesn't have the versatility of Kaminsky. The Badgers do have six forwards that range from 6-6 to 6-8, and sophomore Sam Dekker is the only one with consistent playing experience.
"There's some opportunities out there," Badgers guard Ben Brust said. "I think Frank's going to do a good job. It'll just be a battle every day in practice for coach to choose whatever he wants to do because it's his decision. Everyone is going to show up, compete and we'll see what happens from there."
If there is one aspect of his game Kaminsky is honing in on as he prepares for his junior season, it's developing his conditioning enough to withstand long stretches of play. The last time he played more than 23 minutes in a game came in high school.
"Playing when I'm tired is going to be a big factor this year I think," Kaminsky said. "Sometimes when people get tired you can obviously tell. They start shooting the ball worse. They start making easy moves. I've been working on making myself tired and then starting to shoot when I'm tired."
"I know some games last year, I got in there for a while and I was pretty tired afterward. I'm just trying to become a more consistent player."
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