Kaminsky's versatility key to Benet's success
BY BLAKE BAUMGARTNER -- FOR THE NAPERVILLE SUN
Benet's Frank Kaminsky blocks the shot of Hillcrest's DeShawn Wash.
At 6-foot-11 and 220 pounds, Benet Academy senior center Frank Kaminsky is a rare breed at the high school level--a pure, back-to-the-basket threat who needs to be accounted for on every single play on both ends of the floor.
A dominant presence already because of his stature, many would expect someone headed to play for Bo Ryan and the Wisconsin Badgers next season to be piling up double-doubles on a nightly basis.
But his impact on the second-ranked Redwings goes beyond the amount of points he physically puts on the scoreboard.
For Benet Academy boys basketball coach Gene Heidkamp, that impact wasn't more evident than in Benet's 71-38 victory over Marian Catholic Jan. 13.
Despite only collecting six points, Kaminsky corralled nine rebounds and his presence inside allowed for senior guards David Sobolewski and Matt Parisi to do their thing--pick the opposition apart from the outside.
"I think what everybody looks at, they see a 6-11 kid that's going to Wisconsin and they expect him to get 25 points and 14 rebounds every game," Heidkamp said.
"The reality is, he contributes in every facet of the game and the great thing about great players is he knows when he's needed to score large amounts and he knows when to get other people involved."
Perhaps no one appreciates Heidkamp's last point more than Parisi.
It's Kaminsky's prowess as a passer that allowed Parisi to score a team-high 23 and 21 points in consecutive games against Carmel and Marian Catholic in January, respectively, which saw him connect on a combined 12 threes.
"Frank is incredible to play with. There's like, seriously, no one else I'd rather play with than Frank on the inside," Parisi said.
As opposing teams attempt to develop game plans to combat the offensive arsenal the Redwings throw at you, having to deal with such a big body in the middle doesn't stray too far from the top of concerns.
Coming into its game against Benet back on Dec. 7, Naperville North was focused on not letting Kaminsky control matters inside.
But while succeeding in that regard by holding him to only eight points, Kaminsky blocked five Huskie shots and allowed Sobolewski and Parisi to get open looks at the basket from beyond from the three-point line.
It's truly a pick your poison proposition.
"Part of our thing was to keep Kaminsky out of it. We did that. Sobolewski's gonna get his points," Naperville North coach Jeff Powers said after the game. "But we tried to do a couple gimmick things on him. Tried to double on him, but the thing was we lost Parisi a couple times."
Falling one game shy of a trip to Peoria last year, having 40 percent of your starting lineup held down by players headed for Big Ten schools next fall and off to an unblemished start to the season as February approaches exudes high expectations.
Having a guy as versatile at his size certainly adds to those expectations.
His versatility and the amount his total game has grown came into play yet again in the Redwings' 58-33 triumph over Oswego on Jan. 15.
With Sobolewski sidelined with a strained ligament in his back, Heidkamp asked Kaminsky to do something a lot of people would think would be unorthodox for someone 6-foot-11: run the point.
Using skills he said that he honed in the summer and during practice in the days leading up to the game, Kaminsky had five assists, including three in Benet's 10-0 run to begin the game, to go along with a game-high 25 points and eight rebounds.
That type of performance is becoming par for the course for Kaminsky, although his coach is keenly aware of where his protégé is best utilized as Benet continues its chase for the school's first state appearance since 1979.
"That's something we don't want to have to do a lot, but we feel confident that he can do that," Heidkamp said of playing point guard. "We want him to have the ball. He's a very skilled player and he (does) a lot of things. He's a really unselfish kid.
"He scores when you need him to score and he sets up his teammates."