It seems so weird to say it today but pretty much nobody outside of the Wisconsin fan base cared or was even aware about Wisconsin big man Frank Kaminsky heading into last season. He was just another tall white dude you assumed would be thrown into Bo Ryan's system and become serviceable.
After three games into the year little had changed that opinion of the junior. Kaminsky, who was thrust into the starting spot thanks to the departure of Jared Berggren (as well as interior players Mike Bruesewitz and Ryan Evans), didn't exactly set the world on fire with his ten points versus St. Johns and Florida. Hell, we even had a piece written predominantly beforehand wondering who'd establish themselves as the starting five for Wiscy. However, all of that changed on November 19th.
43 points, a Badger record. 16 of 19 shooting. 6 of 6 from deep.
Suddenly a career backup emerged as a dominating threat down low and while there was some questioning if it was a one and done performance, the junior consistently produced throughout the Big Ten season and became a key weapon for the Badgers as they made a run to the Final Four. While last year's season ended just a single point shy of a title shot, Kaminsky chose to return to Wisconsin when he realized that the environment at Kohl Center, the potential for another successful season and the love of college basketball likely outweighed the prospects of entering the draft, even if not being broke is "very appealing."
So now the 2014 NCAA Tournament West Region's Most Outstanding Player and first team All-Big Ten star will return to a Wisconsin team retaining just about every key player and will be primed for another extended postseason run into April. Not only that, but the hype around Kaminsky has catapulted him into possibly being an All-American caliber player and has led the senior to be considered one of the top, if not the best, player in the Big Ten heading into the upcoming season.
Not bad for a former three star recruit who chose Wisconsin over offers from schools like DePaul, Northern Illinois and Northwestern. Now lets see how Kaminsky handles the hype as he's no longer an unheard of backup, but rather the face of a Wisconsin team that may be one of the best programs in the nation.