When Frank Kaminsky scored 43 points in a November game against North Dakota, the outburst was something for the college basketball hardcores to ponder for a bit.
Kaminsky was a non-factor for the first two seasons of his career, so it certainly came as a surprise. But November games involving Big Sky Conference teams don’t necessarily capture the imagination.
That changed Saturday night.
Kaminsky scored 28 points and 11 rebounds against one of the best defensive teams in the country to send Wisconsin to the Final Four and to become the latest star in college basketball.
The 7-foot junior who had only one other Big Ten scholarship offer out of high school (from Northwestern) was an all-conference performer, but never the star he was against Arizona.
Against an NBA lottery prospect (Aaron Gordon) and the Pac-12’s career leader in blocks (Kaleb Tarczewski), Kaminsky flourished in a 64-63 overtime win even if it didn’t start that way.
This is what TBS analyst Charles Barkley stressed as his points of emphasis for Wisconsin’s offense in the second half:
From there, Kaminsky all the tools that make him a matchup nightmare: He beat Tarczewski and Gordon with his moves around the basket, and he stepped out to make 3 of 5 3-pointers. He made 11 of 20 shots from the field while his team shot 31.7 percent. And he added seven offensive rebounds.
His 43-point performance early in the season may have been the most prolific, but Saturday night made sure he’d be a hero in Madison.