For the second time in three years, the Big Ten has been recognized as having the best player in the country. In 2013, it was Michigan's Trey Burke and this year, it's Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky.
After putting together one of the best and most consistent seasons by a Big Ten player in recent memory, the Associated Press named Wisconsin it's 2015 National Player of the Year. Other contenders for the award were Duke's Jahlil Okafor, Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein, Notre Dame's Jerian Grant, and Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell. However, the voters ultimately decided to give the award to Kaminky.
During the 2014-15 season, Kaminsky's contributions were simply incredible. Here are some of his stats.
Frank Kaminsky's 2014-15 Stats:
- 18.7 pts, 8.0 rebs, 2.7 asts per game
- 253 field goals (#1 in the Big Ten)
- 54.9% field goal percentage (#1 in the Big Ten)
- 188 free throw attempts (#4 in the Big Ten)
- 691 points (#2 in the Big Ten)
- 241 defensive rebounds (#1 in the Big Ten)
- 126.6 offensive rating during 40% of team's minutes (#1 in nation)
- 2.710 KenPom Player of the Year rating (#1 in the nation)
Those numbers are simply amazing, especially considering that he played with guys like Sam Dekker, Nigel Hayes, and Bronson Koenig who took a ton of possessions themselves. This was not a case of Kaminsky simply hogging the ball and building up his numbers. This was simply outstanding play.
For Kaminsky, this award ensures that his legacy will be stamped at Wisconsin and in college basketball regardless of what happens this weekend. He is the only Wisconsin player to ever win AP National Player of the Year and considering some of the players who have come through that program, is a significant statement.
Trying to pin Kaminsky's legacy to a play or a single game is difficult, but perhaps one of his brightest moments was his explosion for 31 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists with a 153 offensive rating at home against Michigan State to not only clinch the Big Ten regular season title, but also to finish his Senior Night in Madison. Not many players are able to show up big in those types of atmospheres and Kaminsky was able to not only perform, but even had some fun after the game by wearing a GoPro around his chest to tape the celebration.
Frank Kaminsky will go down as one of the best players to ever wear a Wisconsin Badger uniform and certainly one of the most fun due to his antics. Perhaps he can elevate his status even further this weekend in the Final Four, but it is certainly a great honor for Kaminsky to be named AP Player of the Year.