Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky
Big man Kaminsky makes history at No. 12 Wisconsin
- Article by: GENARO C. ARMAS
- Associated Press
- November 21, 2013 - 6:41 AM
MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin bio for Frank Kaminsky describes the 7-footer as a "soft-shooting big man."
Few Badgers backers expected anything quite like the 43-point outing he had Tuesday. Kaminsky is now the unlikely new owner of the single-game scoring record for the 12th-ranked Badgers (4-0).
"I just went out there, started shooting the ball and it started going in," Kaminsky said after his outburst in the 103-85 win over North Dakota.
Kaminsky was all smiles, though otherwise relatively subdued for someone who broke the old mark of 42 previously held by Ken Barnes (1965) and Michael Finley (1994).
His teammates were having more fun. Josh Gasser patted him on the head on the bench after the junior was removed from the game, record secure, to a standing ovation. Sam Dekker and Traevon Jackson interrupted a postgame interview with good-natured teasing.
"Frank the Tank! Frank the Tank," shouted the student section in unison at one point in the second half, paying homage to Will Ferrell's character in the movie "Old School."
Kaminsky was doing a different kind of streaking.
"He just keeps working. It's not going to happen every night, but his consistence of being that post threat and also being a stretch threat makes him valuable on the offensive end," coach Bo Ryan said.
Kaminsky was an astounding 16 for 19 from the field and made all six of his 3s. Entering Tuesday, Kaminsky was averaging 8.7 points on the young season, but just 3.2 points in his career.
A 31 percent career shooter from 3-point range at Wisconsin, Kaminsky also filled in at point guard at times as a senior in high school in Lisle, Ill. Kaminsky showed a glimpse of his potential after averaging 15.6 points and shooting 54 percent during Wisconsin's five-game exhibition tour of Canada in the offseason.
At the least, Kaminsky's outburst gives opposing defenses something else to think about besides sophomore Dekker — a 6-foot-7 matchup problem at forward — and the steady perimeter trio of Ben Brust, Jackson and Gasser.
Just as notable Tuesday night was the NBA-like score of 103-85. It was the first time that the Badgers had topped the 100-point mark since a 105-70 win over Eastern Illinois on Dec. 28, 1995.
This doesn't exactly jive with Wisconsin's methodical reputation with the ball under Ryan. But Kaminsky noted the Badgers' efficiency — another trademark for a Ryan-coached team — after the team shot 59 percent from the field (35 of 59).
Asked if the score symbolized a change in playing style this year, Ryan said: "It depends on how easy of looks you're getting and how fast you're getting down the floor. We got open looks. We got scoring opportunities."
"If those kinds of possessions present themselves, we'll take the shots," Ryan added. "We just can't give up as much on the other end."
Until Tuesday, Kaminsky's career high was 19. He was a reserve last year with Wisconsin set up front with Jared Berggren, Ryan Evans and Mike Bruesewitz.
Sinking buckets against North Dakota is one thing. Doing it against the likes of Michigan State and Ohio State is another.
Then there's the matter of the defense. Allowing 85 points on 55 percent shooting to North Dakota — including 61 percent in the second half — isn't like the Badgers. Defense is a work in progress, especially with the Badgers relying on freshmen Nigel Hayes and Bronson Koenig for key minutes off the bench.
As word spreads around the Big Ten of Wisconsin's big night, Kaminsky knows what might come to mind first from opposing coaches.
"They're probably going to tell we played bad defense and gave up 85 points," he said. "Which we did. We've got to get better on defense. But we scored a lot of points and we were efficient with how we scored."
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