Two years ago the Wisconsin Badgers' Frank Kaminsky wouldn't have even been thought of to be put on an All-Bo Ryan team. But now, Kaminsky is considered one of the top players in college basketball and an NBA prospect.
Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky became just the third player during the Bo Ryan era to lead a Badgers team in both scoring (13.9 points) and rebounding (6.3) in the same season last year.
Nati Harnik / Associated Press
By Jesse TempleFOX Sports Wisconsin
During his 13 seasons in charge of Wisconsin's basketball program, Bo Ryan has guided the Badgers to new heights. His teams have reached the NCAA tournament every season, he has five Big Ten titles, a school-record 321 victories and most recently helped UW reach its first Final Four in 14 seasons.
Of course, great players are needed to achieve great success. And Ryan certainly has had his fair share of talent. So, who are the best players in the Ryan era? Who would make the "All-Bo Starting 5" from his past 13 teams? FOXSportsWisconsin.com seeks an answer to the question this week and will reveal a new "Starting 5" member each day.
The criteria to make the list include overall impact on Bo-coached teams, statistics and team success. There are a mix of both backcourt and frontcourt players to provide different positions on the court. In other words, there are not five point guards or five forwards on the team.
Most people likely didn't see an ascension this high out of Kaminsky a year ago -- and some may suggest it's too soon to put him in the All-Bo starting five -- but his play during his junior season has Badgers fans salivating about what is to come for his senior year. Kaminsky, a true 7-foot center, already is considered one of the top college players for the 2014-15 season, and he's turned into a legitimate NBA center prospect.
Kaminsky became just the third player during the Ryan era to lead a Wisconsin team in both scoring (13.9 points) and rebounding (6.3) in the same season. He also happened to do it for a team that reached its first Final Four since 2000. Kaminsky very well could become the second player to lead Wisconsin in scoring and rebounding for two consecutive seasons under Ryan, joining Jon Leuer.
The scoring and rebounding is one thing, but what also separates Kaminsky is his ability to defend -- always a staple on a Bo Ryan-coached team. Kaminsky led the Badgers in blocked shots with 66 last season. His 96 career blocks already are tied for seventh with Greg Stiemsma, and he has an excellent opportunity to break Jared Berggren's career record of 144.
Offensively, there aren't many true centers that are capable of moving defenders out to the 3-point line, but that's exactly what Kaminsky can do to teams. He has become more adept at scoring in the paint and working for shots off the dribble. Last season, he shot 37.8 percent on 3-pointers, which ranked fourth on the team. He drilled all six of his 3-point attempts during a game against North Dakota in which he set the single-game scoring record at Wisconsin with 43 points.
It's certainly a close call between Kaminsky and Brian Butch for the starting center spot on the All-Bo team. Kaminsky gets the nod based on his overall athleticism, impact on the game and potential for his final college season. In Butch's senior season, he averaged 12.4 points and shot 45.6 percent from the field. Kaminsky already had a season at 13.9 points as a junior and shot 52.8 percent. Additionally, Butch finished with 76 career blocked shots and never had more than 29 in one season. Kaminsky likely will pass Butch's career blocked shots total in the first month of his senior season.
Post-Wisconsin basketball career:
Kaminsky still has one more college season remaining, so the answer here is unknown. But if he plays in a manner many believe he's capable of, Kaminsky could have a bright future ahead of him in the NBA.
Who would be Kaminsky's backup?
Butch was Ryan's first McDonald's All-American, and though his career didn't come with the type of statistical output some may have hoped, he still was plenty productive. Butch ranked third on the team in scoring during his sophomore season (9.9 points) and first in rebounding (6.0). As a junior in 2006-07, he averaged 8.8 points and a team-best 5.9 rebounds per game.
Butch dislocated his elbow during a game against Ohio State late in the 2006-07 season and missed the team's final six games. Wisconsin finished the year 30-6 but lost to UNLV in the second round of the NCAA tournament without him.
During his senior year, Butch led the Badgers in scoring (12.4 points) and rebounding (6.6), helping Wisconsin win at least 30 games for the second consecutive season. He has gone on to play professional basketball in China, Germany, Greece, Puerto Rico, the NBA D-League and the Philippines.