Frank Kaminsky has been in the NBA for just over a week, and already he’s conversing with – and learning from – two of the greatest players to ever put on gym shoes.
The first one is obvious, but if you need a hint, his first name is Michael, and his last name is Jordan.
For Kaminsky, the ninth overall pick to Charlotte, speaking with Jordan is a dream come true.
“It’s nuts,” Kaminsky said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “He told me he’s glad that they got me, and (he’s) welcoming me to the team and all that different stuff. It’s just crazy because he’s one of my idols. I’m from Chicago, so Michael Jordan is still the biggest name probably in Chicago. So it’s crazy.”
And then there’s associate head coach Patrick Ewing. The 11-time All-Star is already giving Kaminsky some low-post pointers.
“He’s really starting to teach me when I catch the ball, just go look to score,” Kaminsky said. “In our Wisconsin offense, I was getting double-teamed a lot, so sometimes my first reaction was to catch the ball and look around to see if somebody was open. So now he’s kind of changing my thought process a little bit with just learning to catch the ball and make a play because in the NBA you got to make decisions faster and you got to be more versatile and do whatever you can to help the team.”
Kaminsky, of course, had a stellar career at Wisconsin, leading the Badgers to back-to-back Final Four appearances, including a runner-up finish in April.
Prospects often talk about how the days and weeks leading up to the NBA Draft are pretty crazy. Well, so are the days and weeks after it.
“It’s been pretty crazy still,” Kaminsky said. “Just getting to the city, getting used to the team, meeting everyone, getting a bunch of workouts in – it’s starting to get back to normal.”
NFL rookies typically say the biggest adjustment from college to the pros is the speed of the game. That is true of the NBA as well. There’s also the size difference to account for.
Kaminsky, though, isn’t overly concerned about either.
“Well, it’s going to be a big adjustment just going from playing 40 games in college to playing 82 regular-season games in the NBA,” he said. “That’s going to be a big adjustment in and of itself, but other than that, (I’m) just trying to understand the game, understand how I’m supposed to fit into a new offense and (trying) to make the most of it.”
Kaminsky, who went from anonymous freshman to National Player of the Year as a senior, didn’t think the NBA was a realistic possibility until midway through his junior year. That’s when people started talking about him as a legitimate NBA prospect.
Now he’s a lottery pick.
“It was weird, but I just tried to do whatever I could to be a good college player first and then move on to the NBA,” Kaminsky said. “Now I’m here. I’m lucky enough to have been a top 10 pick and had such a great career at Wisconsin. There’s bright things ahead.”
Speaking of Wisconsin, Bo Ryan, announced that next season will be his last in Madison. Ryan turns 68 in December.
“I think he’s ready to take that next step in his life and take a step away from the game,” Kaminsky said. “But the mark he’s left on the game can’t be changed. Not many coaches get to leave on their own dime, and he’s able to do so. That’s a great thing.”