Center Frank Kaminsky is the only player to reach double figures in all three games for the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team during its trip to Canada.
That’s an encouraging sign that Kaminsky is ready for what figures to be an expanded role during his junior season with the Badgers.
Kaminsky and senior guard Ben Brust scored 17 points apiece Saturday night to help the Badgers beat A-Game Hoops 88-76 in an exhibition game at the Mattamy Athletic Center in Toronto.
Junior guard Traevon Jackson added 13 points to help the Badgers improve to 2-1 on their five-game trip. They’ll play Ryerson University tonight before playing A-Game Hoops, which has a roster comprised mainly of Canadians playing professionally overseas, again on Monday.
A reserve his first two seasons at UW, Kaminsky’s playing time is expected to increase during the 2013-14 season as the Badgers replace their entire starting frontcourt.
“Obviously, I’ve had a chance to step in and play some more minutes now that most of our frontcourt has graduated,” the 7-foot, 235-pound Kaminsky said in a telephone interview Saturday. “It’s been nice to be able to step in and play more and get looks that maybe I would have gotten last year. I’m excited about what this year is going to bring.”
Kaminsky is averaging 14.3 points per game in Canada, second only to sophomore Sam Dekker’s 18.7 output. But becoming a more proficient scorer isn’t the only thing Kaminsky’s working on this offseason — he also knows he needs to get better at rebounding and defending.
“I feel like (those areas are) improving,” he said. “I feel like I’m building on what (coach Bo Ryan) is saying. After every game, he talks to us (and shows) teaching clips. I’m just really excited to work on it now when we have actual games so I can prepare for it when practice comes.”
UW built a 14-point halftime lead despite playing the entire second quarter — the teams played four 10-minute quarters instead of two 20-minute halves – without Dekker, who picked up two fouls in the first quarter. The Badgers still led by 16 points after three quarters but allowed A-Game Hoops to pull within single digits late in the game.
UW, however, made enough free throws to hold on. Brust made two down the stretch, and Dekker added four in the final minute.
“That’s exactly what we’re looking for,” Kaminsky said. “It’s a great learning experience for some of these younger guys when they’re going to press us in the Big Ten, because you learn to play with a lead. That’s what this trip is about is learning to do those type of things.”
Wisconsin 21 28 20 19 — 88
A-Game Hoops 17 18 18 23 — 76
UW scoring: Dekker 8, Kaminsky 17, Jackson 13, Brust 17, Gasser 7, Marshall 9, Hayes 2, Dukan 5, Brown 2, Showalter 6, Dearring 2.