Part of blogging — at least in the “good old days” of blogging — is highlighting the work of other bloggers. It’s how the community was built, really, until some places got so big that they didn’t have to feature anyone else anymore. But we’re not bitter.
Today, we’ll feature the work of up-and-coming blogger Frank Kaminsky of The Moose Basketball. You may recognize Kaminsky from such works as “Leading Wisconsin to the Final Four this season.”
Kaminsky is able to use his blog in ways never available to us at Rumors and Rants. Specifically, explaining the decision to forgo the NBA Draft to stay in college for a senior year. For Kaminsky, the answer seems to lie in a strong dose of self-awareness.
“I don’t think I would be able to live with the regret of skipping my last year of college to be a potential D-League player or end up in Europe. I have no doubt in my mind that I would have been drafted. I believe that one day I will be put on an NBA roster, but that doesn’t happen right away for most people. Especially for a 7 foot white kid with average athleticism.”
Kaminsky’s motivation comes from finishing what the Badgers started. Like the three other teams that lost to Kentucky after the first round of this year’s NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin was potentially one shot away from getting to the championship game and winning it all.
“Last but not least, I am 100% positive we are going to have a great team next year. We lose only one player from a team that made it to a Final Four, and everyone will have another year of experience. I’ve said this before, and I will say it again. I hate losing, so much to the point where I am willing to do anything to win. I don’t care if I average 2 points a game. As long as we are winning I am fine with it. Winning trophies and rings has always been more appealing to me than any individual award. I haven’t won enough in college to call it a career. Yea, we made it to the final four, but that doesn’t mean we won something. It’s a great accomplishment and few get to achieve it, but it isn’t winning it all. With the pieces we have returning, I believe we can win the Big Ten, and even win the whole damn thing.”
That one player being replaced is Ben Brust, Wisconsin’s all-time 3-point shot leader and the most accomplished Mundelein High School graduate not currently writing this blog entry. Still, the Badgers figure to go into next season as the Big Ten favorite.
But there are no guarantees in college basketball, as Kentucky’s unpredictably wild season demonstrated. Or for that matter, the tumultuous season of Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart, a likely lottery pick who came back for one more go with the Cowboys and endured chaos instead of glory.
Of course, there is a huge difference between Smart’s decision and Kaminsky’s — Kaminsky is more likely to go in the Top 10 picks of the second round than the Top 10 picks of the first round.
The most interesting point made by Kaminsky? That playing in the NBA looks boring compared to the atmosphere of college. This is true, at least until the playoffs come around, which is probably why people are paid to do it.
“I know the NBA has their crazy fans and all, but if you look at all of their games, there are games when teams get hardly any fans, and it looks flat out boring. At the Kohl Center, we play in front of nearly 17,000 fans every single time we step onto the court. When we travel, we play in front of sell out crowds who absolutely hate us. Not because of who is on the team, but because of where we go to school. Who could leave that?”
But at the end of the day, it seems Kaminsky’s primary motivation is no different than any of us facing our final year of college. Despite the reliance on a ramen diet, there’s nobody I know who went into that last week of college existence that didn’t contemplate bombing a final or two just to increase the odds of milking just one more semester out of it. (Alas, when you take classes like “History of Rock and Roll” and “Ice Climbing” in your final semester, it becomes difficult to bomb said finals).
“I am going to be honest, I absolutely love college. Call me Joe College if you please.”
Living in Madison, one of America’s ultimate college towns, certainly makes Kaminsky’s Joe College point understandable. The real world, even one with the riches of NBA contracts, doesn’t give you the chance to play the Beer Market at State Street Brats every week. Or drink from the Fish Bowl at that one place I don’t remember leaving.
In Kaminsky’s case — and for that matter, anyone who isn’t a surefire first-round pick, or in dire need of immediate cash — the right choice is to drink up that once-in-a-lifetime experience while it’s still there.