Once an unheralded recruit, Frank Kaminsky blossomed into the best player in college basketball. And now he's a first-round NBA Draft pick.
Michael Jordan's Charlotte Hornets used the No. 9 pick in the draft to make Kaminsky, a Lisle native and Benet Academy alum, the highest-selected Wisconsin Badger in more than 10 years. Only three Wisconsin players have ever been picked higher than Kaminsky. Devin Harris was the most recent, the No. 5 overall pick in 2004.
Kaminsky was the brightest star in college hoops last season, mixing skill and personality to become a rock star. He won every national player of the year award under the sun, was tabbed as the Big Ten's Player of the Year and led his Badgers to the second of two consecutive Final Four appearances. He averaged 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game last season.
Kaminsky wowed on the offensive end of the floor with an unending series of post moves and a deadly accurate 3-point shot. He scored 25 points or more in six games this past season.
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Kaminsky, who really broke out nationally with a terrific NCAA tournament in 2014, was again superb come March Madness this past season. He scored 27 points in a Round of 64 win over Coastal Carolina and followed that up with 16 points against Oregon and 19 points against North Carolina. He then had a huge 29-point effort in Wisconsin's Elite Eight win over Arizona and scored 20 points in the Final Four victory over Kentucky. And even in a loss to Duke in the national title game, he scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.
Kaminsky is the fourth Badger selected during the Bo Ryan Era at Wisconsin. He was preceded by Harris in 2004, Alando Tucker in 2007 and Jon Leuer in 2011. Kaminsky's teammate, Sam Dekker, became the fifth with the No. 18 pick in Thursday's draft.
After their selections, Ryan made this statement.
“This is a very proud moment for the University of Wisconsin basketball program to have two guys go in the first round. That is special,” Ryan said. “And who knows, we may have some other guys that maybe didn’t go in the first round but still might end up playing at the highest level. I wouldn’t be surprised. But I’m very proud of Frank and Sam, and I’m sure everyone else takes the same pride in their accomplishments and now they’ve been rewarded professionally.”