From the bench to ‘the Tank’

first_imgBefore Frank Kaminsky helped lead Wisconsin to a Final Four, was named the most outstanding player of the West Regional, was a first-team All-Big Ten selection or broke a 48-year old scoring record, he rode the bench.Much like many Wisconsin players before him, Kaminsky had to bide his time behind upperclassmen while developing in Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan’s system.“You scold to mold. You praise to raise,” Ryan said in a press conference in Anaheim, Calif. during the Sweet 16. “You have to be honest with them. You can’t tell that kid sitting with the remote on the couch eating potato chips bag by bag and telling him he’s the greatest thing that ever lived without kind of mentioning that maybe you ought to get off the couch.”Coming to Wisconsin from Benten Academy in Lisle, Ill. Kaminsky stood at 6-foot-10, still growing into a frame that would eventually top out at 7-feet. A late growth spurt allowed him to play the guard positions in high school where he was able to develop ball-handling skills and a soft touch.Picking up these skills would prove to be key traits in his success later on.“He had passing skills, pretty good foot work, things like that,” Ryan said of what he saw in Kaminsky in high school. “So to get to be 7-feet tall and then still have those skills, that’s helped us.”During his freshman and sophomore seasons, Kaminsky averaged just nine minutes per game while sitting behind forwards like Jon Leuer and Jared Berggren.Learning behind players at his position that received All-Big Ten team selections during their careers at Wisconsin gave Kaminsky a strong foundation to his development as a player.“He had a chance to play behind some other guys that he learned from in Jared Berggren and in a lot of practices with guys like Keaton Nankivil, Jon Leuer who is with Memphis now,” Ryan said. “So he’s had a chance to be around some guys that could help him. He listens.”Heading into the 2013-2014 season, the junior forward looked to be next in line to take over the Wisconsin front court with both Berggren and Ryan Evans leaving vacancies down low for the Badgers.Although he was primed to become the starter and would soon embark on a season that would make a mark on the Wisconsin history books, Kaminsky was still a relative unknown.“I had no idea who Frank was coming in because he was playing behind [Berggren] who was a great player for them,” freshman forward Nigel Hayes said. “But, I knew Frank could shoot the ball and I knew that he was skilled. But Frank is actually a lot better than I was told.”With an opportunity finally presenting itself for Kaminsky to make contributions to the team, he was determined to make the most of it.“I knew that this year there would be an opportunity for me to go out there and play a lot of minutes, and I just wanted to do anything I could to be a big factor on this team,” Kaminsky said.It wouldn’t take long for him to become a “big factor” as he would lead Wisconsin in scoring in a three-point win over UW-Green Bay in the third game of the season, which he followed up with a 43-point performance against North Dakota to put himself in the program’s record book and on the national map.In the 33 games after his record setting performance, Kaminsky has failed to reach double digit scoring or rebounding just seven times.In Wisconsin’s last 13 games, Kaminsky has averaged 17.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.Ryan attributes his 7-footer’s success to his growth both as a player and a person.“He’s growing into his body, mentally, physically, socially,” Ryan said. “They tell me he’s funnier than he used to be, and his eyes are more wide open now. Last year I thought at times his eyes were closed, then I realized that’s just his eyes. If you see him sitting sometimes you think, oh, look, Frank’s asleep. He’s not asleep. But he’s got that sleepy look. But he’s matured in every aspect because he’s worked hard.”With a top-10 standing in rebounding, blocks and field goal percentage in the Big Ten this season, Kaminsky became a first-team All-Big Ten honoree. He was the only Badger to earn a first-team selection this season.Kaminksy’s versatility has been a big part of why he has been successful this season. With the ability to stretch defenses out to the perimeter and a quick first step to the rim, he presents a mismatch for most opposing teams.“Frank’s the man. I know that some of the guys say that I’m a mismatch nightmare, but Frank is really even a better one in the fact that when he’s guarded by a true seven-footer it’s almost illegal for him to play against them,” Hayes said. “The fact that usually their feet are no where near as good as Frank’s, so when he’s out on the perimeter, if he just puts the ball on the ground it’s always a foul because they can’t slide with him. Inside, with his great footwork, he can get you up off of the ground and score anyway he wants. That’s just Frank being Frank.”But it has been his emergence in the NCAA Tournament that has caught the attention of the country and has even put him in the conversation as a possible NBA prospect.In Wisconsin’s four wins in the tournament, the junior is averaging 18.5 points per game and six rebounds per game while shooting 54 percent from the floor.That pales in comparison to his performance in the West Regional final against No.1 seed Arizona, where he scored a game-high 28 points to go with 11 rebounds to send Wisconsin to its first Final Four since 2000.Kaminsky’s 28 points was the second-highest scoring total by a Badger in the NCAA Tournament, behind only Michael Finley who scored 36 points in 1994, earning him the Most Outstanding Player award in the West regional.“We always knew Frank had it in him, we just had to get it out of him,” sophomore forward Sam Dekker said. “He’s been carrying us this whole season.”last_img read more

TENNIS: Serena wins 3rd straight U.S. Open

first_imgSerena Williams ended a difficult-for-her Grand Slam season in the best way possible, winning her third consecutive U.S. Open title by beating Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday.Williams equaled Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova with 18 major singles titles, the fourth-most in history. Williams also matched Evert’s total of six championships at the U.S. Open and became the first woman to win three in a row since Evert’s four-title run from 1975-78.Williams earned $4 million, a record in tennis — $3 million for the title, plus a $1 million bonus for having had the best results during the North American summer hard-court circuit.It was a dominant performance to cap a dominant two weeks in Flushing Meadows. Not only did Williams, ranked and seeded No. 1, win all 14 sets she played in the tournament, she never even dropped more than three games in any of them.Until the U.S. Open, though, Williams had not been at her best on her sport’s biggest stages in 2014. She lost in the fourth round at the Australian Open, the second round at the French Open, and the third round at Wimbledon, where a disoriented Williams also struggled through an odd appearance in doubles that was attributed to a viral illness.Back at the top of her game, Williams broke Wozniacki’s serve five times and compiled a hard-to-believe 29-4 edge in winners. Remarkably, until a cross-court backhand on the run in the final game that even Williams applauded, the only winners registered by the 10th-seeded Wozniacki came on a trio of aces, one in the first set, two in the second.That was, in part, a result of the Dane’s iffy play in only her second Grand Slam final — she lost to Kim Clijsters at the 2009 U.S. Open — but more due to Williams’ relentless pursuit of every ball.A few weeks shy of her 33rd birthday, making the American the oldest major champion since Navratilova was 33 at Wimbledon in 1990, Williams simply would not allow a shot to get past her. Wozniacki is the one training for the New York City Marathon, but Williams tired her out by the end.Wozniacki was not exactly an extra in this Williams highlight reel, but pretty close to it. The points were being directed by Williams, whether via serves that reached 120 mph (194 kph), forceful returns that backed Wozniacki into a corner when not producing outright winners, unreachable groundstrokes from all angles or even the occasional volley.last_img read more

Nadal saves match point vs Medvedev for 1st win at ATP Finals

first_imgIn the late match, Stefanos Tsitsipas beat defending champion Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-2 for his second straight win, a result that guarantees him a place in the semifinals.The other three players all still have a chance of advancing.Tsitsipas, who is making his debut at the tournament for the world’s top eight players after a breakthrough season, broke Zverev for a 5-3 lead in the first set and then twice more to go 5-1 up in the second.With dozens of Greek flags being waved around the O2 Arena, Tsitsipas then served out the match with an ace.“Once again, it was not just me out there, but a whole bunch of excited people that came to support me,” said Tsitsipas, the first Greek player to qualify for the event. “It was a crew situation.”ADVERTISEMENT Rice industry paralysis Priority legislation in the 18th Congress Duterte officials’ paranoia is ‘singularly myopic’ LATEST STORIES Drilon apologizes to BCDA’s Dizon over false claim on designer of P50-M ‘kaldero’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Duterte calls himself, Go, Cayetano ‘the brightest stars’ in PH politics Nadal saved that match point with a perfect drop shot and then rallied to beat Medvedev 6-7 (3), 6-3, 7-6 (4) Wednesday, keeping alive his chances of advancing from the group stage.“Today is one of those days that one out of 1,000 you win and it happened today,” Nadal said. ”In that moment (facing match point), what you think is probably in five minutes you are in the locker room, because that’s the more normal thing. In that moment, you play with not much pressure because you are almost lost.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGreatest ever?SPORTSFormer PBA import Anthony Grundy passes away at 40SPORTSSan Miguel suspends Santos, Nabong, Tubid indefinitely after ‘tussle’ in practiceNadal looked headed for a second straight loss at the season-ending tournament but won five games in a row to go 6-5 up in the deciding set. In the tiebreaker, Medvedev missed a routine forehand to hand Nadal a match point and then sent a backhand just wide. That shot was initially called in but was overturned by Hawk-Eye after Nadal challenged the decision.The win gives Nadal a 1-1 record after two round-robin matches, while Medvedev fell to 0-2. Zverev could still advance with a win over Medvedev on Friday, and he also lost his second round-robin match last year on his way to the title.“Things are still in my hands, and I’m looking forward to it, because I can still decide whether I’m here on Saturday or not,” the German said. “There is nothing I can do about today now. He played a fantastic match, I thought. I played really bad.”Tsitsipas said he was playing with a pain-killing injection in his foot because of an injury but pledged to treat his match with Nadal as a must-win situation even though he’s already through to the semifinals.“I’m going to try to give my soul, and I think it’s also a very good challenge for me in order to prepare for more difficult matches in the semifinals and the final potentially, so this match is going to give me a lot,” he said. “It’s going to educate me, and I’m going to try to get and absorb as much as I can from that.”In a rematch of this year’s U.S. Open final, Nadal came out looking much sharper than in his opening loss to Zverev and broke Medvedev twice in the second set.But the Russian raced out to a 4-0 lead in the third set and had two more break points in the next game. However, Nadal held and then saved a match point at 30-40 in his next service game with a backhand drop shot at the net.Medvedev then started making more mistakes while Nadal played like a man with nothing to lose, going for winners all over the court.“Rafa fought his best, because he could just say ‘OK, it’s over at 5-1 and just give me the point,’ but we all know Rafa is not about this,” Medvedev said. “I just need to close out such matches.”Nadal’s preparations for the ATP Finals were hampered by an abdominal injury that forced him to pull out of the Paris Masters semifinals this month. But he insisted he feels fine physically, and is gradually finding his best game after an error-filled performance against Zverev.”I have been playing a better level of tennis than the first day in general terms,” Nadal said. ”Then to win this match is a combination of a lot of things: luck, some mistakes of Daniil, some good moments by myself at the end.” What’s behind the display of Chinese flag in Boracay? Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:45Aquino agrees with Drilon on SEA games ‘kaldero’ spending issue Ethel Booba on SEA Games cauldron: ‘Sulit kung corrupt ang panggatong’ Nadal’s win also strengthens his grip on the year-end No. 1 ranking, as it means Novak Djokovic has to win the tournament to have any chance of overtaking him. Djokovic first has to beat Roger Federer on Thursday just to advance to the semifinals.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Matteo Guidicelli had saved up for Sarah G’s ring since 2014? MOST READ Porzingis returns as Knicks show signs of chaos he escaped View comments Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates after winning match point against Daniil Medvedev of Russia during their ATP World Tour Finals singles tennis match at the O2 Arena in London, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)LONDON— Facing match point at 5-1 down in the third set, Rafael Nadal gave himself about a one-in-a-thousand chance of turning things around against Daniil Medvedev at the ATP Finals.Those odds turned out to be more than good enough for the top-ranked Spaniard.ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more