College star Kaminsky hears doubts as he prepares for NBA
CHICAGO (AP) Frank Kaminsky measured as the tallest player at the NBA Draft Combine, and he felt like a big target already.
The do-it-all player of the year in college keeps hearing what he can't do as a pro. He's not strong enough, quick enough, or even young enough next to the flashier kids in the class.
Rather than ignore the criticisms, Kaminsky wants to be aware of them, asking teams that are interviewing him where he needs to get better.
''Everyone's been a little bit different but they all have the same theme. So that just goes to show that I still have a lot to work on,'' he said Thursday. ''Nobody's perfect coming into the draft. There's been a lot of people in draft history who have come in with a lot of question marks and been able to prove people wrong, so I want to be one of those people.''
He already answered plenty of questions during his four years at Wisconsin, which ended with a run to the national championship game. But all that extra TV time can end up working against a player like Kaminsky, who has been seen so much by so many that there's simply more to nitpick.
''With me, I'm a four-year college player, so all my journey and all my film and everything I can do is pretty much out there, so they've probably seen me play a lot of times,'' Kaminsky said. ''Some of the other guys who are one-and-done type players, they might not have as much film on them.''
Kaminsky met with some teams and took his measurements at the combine, with a height of 7-feet-.75 inches in sneakers. Like most top players, he chose not to play in the games at the recommendation of his agent.
''It's hard to top being named national player of the year, so I don't know how much more I could have done,'' he said.
So the South Side of Chicago product spent Thursday watching and supporting Badgers teammate Sam Dekker, who understands the fuss about Kaminsky but doesn't expect it to last.
''Haters, man. There's haters. When you're good enough and put yourself in the position and stuff he did, people are going to try to knock you down and doubt you,'' Dekker said.
''But the best players ever are going to go through that stuff and I see Frank is a really, really good player. He won those awards for a reason and he's going to add even more to his game and I see him doing well. Regardless of where he goes, he's going to represent well and have a very long and very good career.''
Kaminsky averaged 18.8 points and 8.2 rebounds as a senior, ending his career with 21 points and 12 boards in a loss to Duke in the national championship game. He improved every season during his 144-game college career - and like those veteran San Antonio Spurs he'll soon be playing against, he'd rather be known for his experience than his age.
''I've said it before, I'm 22 years old and I get treated like I'm 65 going into the NBA,'' Kaminsky said. ''So it's not necessarily that I'm young or old, it's I just don't think age plays a big deal as some of the people think it does.''
Nor does he believe his defense is as bad as some say, though acknowledges it needs work.
''I don't think I have as many deficiencies on defense as have been so kindly brought up by so many different people,'' he said, ''but I feel like I can fit in and play with just about any team.''
He expects to be a lottery pick and envisions his future as a power forward, rather than a center. And he believes the NBA's shorter shot clock and better floor spacing could help show off his array of skills.
''I know what I can do and I know what I'm going to improve on and I know what I want to work on to get better at the next level,'' Kaminsky said. ''So I'm 22 years old and I hope to have a long career and a lot of things I can improve on, so we'll see how it goes.''