Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 11/21/11
MADISON, Wis. There were times during his high school season last year when Frank Kaminsky found himself serving as Benet Academy's emergency point guard in key late-game situations. And while that might not sound like much to those who have never seen Frank Kaminsky, the sight of a 6-foot-11 center bringing the ball up court and directing the offense is most unusual at any level. To the Wisconsin men's basketball coaching staff, it simply offered further proof that Kaminsky possessed all the requisite tools to fit right into the Badgers' offensive system. "He handles it," Badgers associate head coach Greg Gard said. "You can see his vision, his court awareness, his understanding. He sees the big picture. We've seen that some with just his ability to handle the ball in the halfcourt. He makes pretty good decisions and understands the game."No, Kaminsky isn't playing point guard as a freshman for Wisconsin's team this season. But he is showcasing his versatility in other ways, making smart passing decisions, stepping out to shoot the 3-pointer and in the process cracking the rotation as the team's backup center. "Everyone likes to shoot 3s," Kaminsky said. "That's also something I used to do a lot before I got as tall as I did. I used to shoot a lot of 3s. That kind of stuck with me throughout all the growing. Over three years, I grew about 7 or 8 inches."Kaminsky certainly isn't a typical five man, per se, but that fits the mold of Badgers coach Bo Ryan's system. Starting center Jared Berggren, for example, is second on the team in 3-point attempts with 13. Kaminsky is averaging a 3-pointer every five minutes of game time. Through three games, he is 1 for 5 on threes and is averaging three points and three rebounds in 8.7 minutes of action per contest.No. 11 Wisconsin (3-0) plays host to UMKC (1-3) at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Kohl Center, and Kaminsky should continue to see minutes. The Kangaroos don't play anyone in their regular rotation that is taller than 6-8.Kaminsky said he chose Wisconsin over offers from Northwestern, DePaul and Indiana, among others. And although he thought his skill set would blend nicely in Wisconsin's system, he wasn't sure if he'd really play during his freshman season.At this stage of the season, Kaminsky has surprised even himself, beating out redshirt freshman Evan Anderson for the backup center position."I didn't see it coming," Kaminsky said. "I honestly didn't know what to expect coming in. I knew Jared was going to be the clear-cut big man. I saw that there were minutes available for that backup center spot, and I just went after it."Kaminsky earned first-team all-state honors from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association last season at Benet Academy in Lisle, Ill., while playing alongside point guard David Sobolewski, who now plays at Northwestern. When Sobolewski went down with an injury during part of the season, Gard said Kaminsky became the team's point guard for stretches. Kaminsky averaged 14.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, 4.2 blocks and 2.8 assists per game.As a junior, he helped guide Benet Academy to a 26-4 record, leading the team to its first conference title since 1995 and a supersectionals berth. One of his breakout games came in the state tournament, when he scored 39 points.Ryan said Kaminsky's versatility was one of the reasons he was playing so early in his Wisconsin career."He can shoot, and he can pass," Ryan said. "Don't let that sleepy look that he has fool you. I saw him riding his mo-ped a couple of weeks ago. I was going to honk to wake him up. It looked like he was sleeping. He said it's something about his eye. It's like half closed a lot times. "I don't know exactly what it is, but it certainly doesn't keep him from finding people that are open, from hitting shots, from rebounding. He doesn't just come to play, he comes to compete, and that's what I like about him."Both Kaminsky and Gard acknowledged that Kaminsky has a long way to go in developing his game. Defensive quickness and sheer strength are the most notable areas of improvement for Kaminsky in the coming years.But for now, his multifaceted game has been good enough to earn a spot in Ryan's current nine-player rotation."He's cagey," Gard said. "He's smart. He kind of has an old man game, so to speak. He just knows where to be, what to do, those type of things. He's picked up the college game as quick as any big guy we've had come in."Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter
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