After a breakout junior year and Final Four run in 2014, lofty expectations were placed on Wisconsin Badgers big man Frank Kaminsky entering the 2014-15 season. The 7-footer certainly held up his end of the bargain, and on Sunday, he was rewarded for that by being named the Naismith College Player of the Year.
Wisconsin Basketball and the school's associate athletic director, Justin Doherty, offered their congratulations:
Kaminsky emerged in a big way during the 2013-14 season after averaging only a little over four points per game as a sophomore. The skilled 7-footer suddenly became a force on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor, and his development continued as a senior.
The Lisle, Illinois, native has been the driving force behind the Badgers' ascent to elite status. With season-long averages of nearly 19 points, eight rebounds and almost three assists per game, Kaminsky is a stat-sheet stuffer who gives the opposition fits.
That type of production seemingly made the Naismith College Player of the Year Award a foregone conclusion, especially after he made Wisconsin history by winning The Associated Press Player of the Year Award, according to ESPN's SportsCenter:
Kaminsky's rise to this level has been meteoric and unexpected. He was as anonymous as a 7-foot basketball player could possibly be just a couple of years ago, but he is now one of the most recognizable athletes in the sport.
Although Kaminsky wasn't touted as a surefire star coming out of high school, that may have motivated him to become the fantastic player that he is now. San Diego sports anchor Lee Hacksaw Hamilton put it simply:
Per ESPN.com's Jeff Goodman, Kaminsky and his teammates have used low expectations to their advantage:
With so much focus on one-and-done phenoms in the college game, it is refreshing to see players of Kaminsky's ilk receive the credit they deserve.
While guys like Duke's Jahlil Okafor and Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns have been able to make the leap to college and become top players immediately, it wasn't that easy for Kaminsky.
His efforts over the past few years have culminated in his being recognized as the cream of the crop in college basketball.
Talent evaluators are seemingly split on his chances of becoming a great NBA player, but regardless of how he ultimately fares at the next level, Kaminsky has received an honor that can never be taken away from him.
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