When Frank Kaminsky led the Badgers to deep runs in the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and ’15, he brought tears of joy to the eyes of many Wisconsin basketball fans.
Now, Kaminsky may be the one shedding happy tears, as the former Wisconsin great will have his No. 44 retired by the Badgers on Thursday. During halftime of Wisconsin’s game against Purdue, Kaminsky’s No. 44 will be raised to the rafters of the Kohl Center. No other Wisconsin basketball player will sport the number again.
When asked about his jersey retirement ceremony on Monday, Kaminsky jokingly said that if he cries, they will be manly tears.
Wisconsin basketball tweeted out the quote:
"If I cry at Thursday's ceremony, it will be the manliest tears you've ever seen."
– Frank Kaminsky #44Ever
— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) February 12, 2018
He will be only the second player in Wisconsin basketball history to have his jersey retired. Ab Nicolas, who played shooting guard for Wisconsin from 1949-52, was the first Badger basketball player to have his jersey retired (No. 8).
Although Kaminsky did not see a lot of playing time in his first two seasons, he became a starter as a junior and never looked back. As a junior, the center averaged 13.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and earned First-Team All-Big Ten honors. In addition, Kaminsky set Wisconsin’s single-game scoring record when he scored 43 points against North Dakota. Kaminsky led the Badgers to the Final Four, where they lost to Kentucky, 74-73.
Kaminsky and the Badgers would bounce back in a big way the next season, and the Wisconsin big man averaged 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.5 blocks per game. Wisconsin won the Big Ten Tournament and made it back to the Final Four in 2015 where it got revenge against Kentucky, defeating the Wildcats, 71-64. In the National Championship Game, Kaminsky and the Badgers fell to Duke, 68-63.
In 2015, Kaminsky was once again named to the First-Team All-Big Ten and was named the National College Player of the Year. He was also a consensus All-American, the Big Ten Player of the Year, the Big Ten Tournament MVP and the recipient of both the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award and the John R. Wooden Award.
After his senior season with the Badgers, he was taken with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, where he still currently plays.
As a role player this season with the Hornets, Kaminsky is averaging 10.7 points and 3.7 rebounds in 23.4 minutes per game off the bench.
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