Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Decision To Stay




Due to a good second half of the season and a good tournament, I had put myself into a position where people at the next level started talking about me as a potential NBA prospect. I don't think anyone who plays basketball would say that would not excite them. My whole life it has always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA, particularly the Chicago Bulls. Since my Aunt and Uncle worked for the Bulls, I was able to go to their practice facility frequently for birthday parties or to just run around. It was always the best when players were around. I remember when I was 5, in 1998, I was in the facility at the same time with Randy Brown, Dennis Rodman, and Michael Jordan. I remember being so star struck, and wanting to be just like them. My Aunt would give me some of their gear, and I wouldn't take it off for days at a time. I would go back home and tell everyone at school that I was Michael Jordan's new best friend and that he gave me some stuff. Too bad no one really cared at that time. 

When I started hearing about being a potential pick in the NBA draft, I tried to shoot down the talk as much as I could during the NCAA tournament. My goal was set on winning a national title, then figuring out everything from there. After we lost, I was blindsided by questions about what I was thinking about doing. I mean I had just lost the biggest game of my life to this point, and people were asking me if I was going to stay in school or leave. I had no idea. I was so frustrated and upset with the fact that we just lost, and then I was being asked my future plans when I was stuck in the moment. I think my exact quote was "I'm not going anywhere," but I wasn't sure at that point. 

Until that point, my dad did a great job of blacking out all the noise and keeping me focused on playing. Once that game had finished, I was somewhat overwhelmed with all the different perceptions and opinions of me as an NBA player. My dad's phone became flooded with all sorts of different people calling him and telling him a bunch of different things. We sought out all the information possible. Let me tell you why. 

First of all, who wouldn't want to find out how people at the next level view your potential career as an NBA player. Find out what they think you need to work on, what you do well, and what people are looking for. I believe I would have been stupid if I just ignored all that information. 

Secondly, the thought of not being broke anymore was very appealing. I know I am going to college and pursuing my degree free of charge, but it comes to a point where you are tired of being broke. I hate looking in my bank account at the end of the month and seeing 20$ left in there. The appeal of potentially a lot of money would entice any collegiate athlete, or any college student for that matter. 

Lastly, like I said, it has always been a dream of mine. I can't tell you how many times I have thought about being in the NBA. But playing in college made me realize something. Something important.

I am at the pinnacle of my basketball playing career, at least in my eyes. 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?

Next, my teammates have become my family away from home. Admittedly, a dysfunctional family at times, but a family nonetheless. I have become extremely close with almost every player on the team. If I am ever lucky enough to find a potential wife, I am sure I met who would be my best man at the wedding, my roommate Jordan Smith. 

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. 

I am going to be honest, I absolutely love college. Call me Joe College if you please. I sat down and thought about it for a long time, and I kept coming back to the same exact point. 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. 

The NBA can wait. The NBA isn't going anywhere, so neither am I. I know my benefits of coming back to school just as well as I know my risks. But in this case, the benefits outweigh the risks. I made a commitment to the University of Wisconsin, and they made a commitment to me. Who would have thought that I would be in this position at the end of last season? If any, they wouldn't have been willing to bet on that. If you know anything about me, you would know that I pride myself on being loyal. I will always be loyal to anyone or anything that I care about, and I care about this school and this basketball team. They have become part of my identity and who I am. 

To wrap things up... I want to say that I love this place. I am exactly where I need to be. The University of Wisconsin has provided me with an opportunity to be the best I can be. So why not provide the University of Wisconsin with the best basketball team that has stepped foot on this campus? 

54 comments:

  1. Great to have you back Frank. There's no doubt in my mind you'll be the best big man in the Big Ten next season and one of the best in the country. This team has the potential to with the NC and it all starts with you! Thanks buddy

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  2. Well put! Glad you'll be back next season. And I hope you continue this blog after your class ends!

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  3. Your insights and honesty in these posts are fantastic. Please keep it up.

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  4. Nice to hear how much you relish the college life of a student/athlete. You are getting a once in a lifetime chance to experience something that few of us get an opportunity for. Look around you, get a good sniff, a real eyeful of life at its best. Good luck on your dreams.
    Regards,
    JH

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  5. As a Wisconsin Alum and a badger fan, I'm blown away by this blog piece. You represent everything that is right about college athletics. Can't wait for next season. Go get em Frank

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  6. Frank,

    There are some things in life that no amount of money can buy. You will have a lot more money in the future, but you and your team have the opportunity to create memories during this coming year that all of you will always treasure.. Kudos to you for making a wise decision. And thanks for all of the enjoyment you have provided for fans of the team.

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  7. So glad your coming back Frank.Was so proud of you guys this season..I wish you a happy and healthy life..go Badgers..Jersey Mike..

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  8. I absolutely love reading this blog and it's so much better than an espn article I could read because it's from the heart and honest. Wisconsin has such a strong brotherhood that I don't think any other team could match. Can't wait to see you all at the Kohl this fall!

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  9. Your a helluva kid Frank and this team was special. This group reminds me of the 1999 Michigan State Final Four team and next year you guys can do exactly what Mateen Cleaves and the boys came back to do, and that is win a National Championship in Indianapolis. Best of luck and ON WISCONSIN!

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  10. Frank,I had the good fortune to meet you and some family members at the hotel in Dallas on Thursday before the Final Four. I was impressed by all of you, and now am even more pleased with your very well written, candid, most insightful, and heartfelt comments regarding the last few weeks We Badger fans (and I go way back to the fifties) have seen many fine players and coaches wear the Badger colors. However, you correctly state that next year Bo could have the best Badger team in history.. Thank you for the past year and even more mrmories next year




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  11. Can't wait for 2014-15! Thanks for coming back and hopefully leading us to the promised land! Couldn't be more proud to be a Badger!!!!!

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  12. NBA IS boring compared to NCAA - great choice!

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  13. So excited to have you come back and lead the charge for the Badgers next year on the court! You and your teammates are SOOOOO FUN to watch! Good choice...get your education and you'll always have something to fall back on in life as well!

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  14. I got the chills reading this, your the man!

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  15. As a Big IU fan I am rooting for you and applauding you for your decision. Of course I want you lose when we play you and hopefully we finish first but not because of you but because of the team. You nailed it head on. Again I am rooting for you and your future success. You are a good role model for others and an example for kids to look at the bigger picture. Good luck this next year! Hope you do well just not better than IU.

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  16. The humbleness radiates in each sentence.......... but I wonder if pro-scouts suspect some lack of confidence

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  17. I gave myself elbow tendonitis punching the air for you guys as you made your run... I'm hoping I'll need Tommy John surgery after we win it all next year. Go get 'em Franky!!

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  18. 13.9 ppg Wow!!! Not sure if the NBA can make it another year without you! I'm sure wherever you land next year. they will be selling out everynight......lol You are the most boring center on the most boring team in America Dude!!!!

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    1. Wow!! I'm sure Frank cares about your opinion, Dude!!!!

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    3. The guy that made the comment above about being the most boring center is either a. a virgin, b. a douchebag, c. a Duke fan or d. all of the above. I vote all of the above because those things are usually all one in the same. Thank you Frank for your quality insight and humble thoughts. I just wish there were more kids with your intelligence, loyalty and quality upbringing as you have/had. Thanks for sharing the blog. On Wisconsin...

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    5. Classy post bro, way to bash a kid who's going to make the last year of his college career memorable. Frank made the choice that will serve his career best IMO. Even if he doesn't last in the NBA he'll have his college diploma from a fine University. Most one and done's are out of the league by the time they're 24, and find themselves flat broke with no job skills. Keep hating on good kids like this one who have done nothing but stay out of trouble. Also better check your basketball knowledge, this isn't Wisconsin from 2008, the make-up of this team can hit shots from anywhere on the court, and not just 2 feet from the basket like Arizona and Kentucky. Wanna talk boring? Arizona's offense vs. the Badgers was strictly (missed jump shot followed by offensive rebound) yeah real fun to watch that for 40 minutes + overtime!

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    6. hey douche, all 5 of their starters averaged double figures. its called a team game for a reason. he scored when it was best for the team to score. dumbass.

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  19. If you're "lucky enough to find a potential wife"? What about your girl Deme? Come on Frank, you know you're just coming back so you can stay with the hottest girl on the volleyball team.

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    1. Im am sure she would love this comment

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    2. I am sure she wrote this comment.

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  20. Dude. You are making a good decision to stay in college. And you are right that college basketball, at least in the big conferences, is very exciting for every game. However, don't blame your decision on the NBA being "boring". It is not. Especially not the playoffs. Don't alienate the company that you dream to work for by putting them down. Although I believe that you are exactly right in that you will at best end up in the d-league or Europe. If you were good enough to play with the best basketball talent in the world then you would be. All you've done by putting the NBA down is come up with an excuse for why you know and were probably told you're not good enough. I hope you enjoy your last year in college and get your degree because you'll need it. And just know that your team will surely get knocked out of the tournament by a younger more talented team with actual NBA prospects like Duke!!!!

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  21. I'm sure being at best a second round pick at best had nothing to do with his decision to return to school

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  22. As a fellow Badger, I can't be more excited about this. The class you've displayed by writing this blog is boundless and I look forward to next season. On Wisconsin!

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  23. re: getting knocked out of tournament by duke...guess we'll find out at the kohl center come december! then again, after we wax them, it will be all about how duke would take it to us on a neutral court. on wisconsin!

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  24. Can you hook me up with Courtney Thomas?? Lol great to have you back kid!!

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  25. Nice column Frank! But until the Badgers win a national title, the 1941 team will be the best ever team to walk on the campus! :)

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  26. Can't wait to have you back next season Frank! On Wisconsin!

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  27. Good stuff Frank, very refreshing. Respect. Best of luck.

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  28. This is why I'm proud to be a Wisconsin fan. Thank you Frank! Anyone who's trying to give you crap doesn't get the big picture. I will be rooting hard for you guys all year and hopefully ya'll have a better ending! I just wish more college athletes were acted the way the kids at UW do.

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  29. Booo! kidding. Not a Wisconsin fan, but always happy to see skilled players make the most of their college education and college basketball experience.

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  30. Frank you are a great role model for kids growing up and realizing that $ is not the most important thing in life. (The NBA will be there for you later.)
    Whether you are an athlete or not...being an undergrad at the UW is an experience you cherish the rest of your life.
    I sure do and what do I remember....frat brothers, other friends, meeting people quite different from me and becoming
    "socialized" in the real world.
    Enjoy it and kudos to You and all the other Great Student Athletes in all sports at Wisconsin. You represent the University
    and make alums like me proud no matter where we live.
    Class of 69 from North Carolina

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  31. Well done Frank! I have 2 young boys & when they are looking at future Badgers as role models, I hope there are more guys like you! So refreshing to have "good guys" playing for Wisconsin. I couldn't be more proud to be a Badger fan. Work your tail off to get your dream. ON WISCONSIN!

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  32. Hell yes, great to have you back! we love you. FRANK THE TANK!

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  33. Appreciate the candid insights, Frank. Your decision took a lot of courage and your loyalty to the great state University of Wisconsin will not be forgotten. Stay hungry, stay humble, and on Wisconsin!

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  34. Badger in MinnesotaMay 1, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    There will be ups and downs next year, but every championship team needs to endure hardships to proceed. The true test of the team will come when it is faced with adversity. When that happens, you must be the leader that keeps believing, Frank! We love you, man! The UW loves you, and the people of the State of Wisconsin love you! Lead on, Frank!

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  35. Well written, Mr. Kaminsky. I'd expect no less from a Benet grad. Just kidding, but very special blog here. Congratulations on your decision. You seem like a very nice guy and you are a damn fine player.

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  36. Once a Badger, always a Badger. And you are one of the great ones, Frank. On, Wisconsin!

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  37. Frank, unbelievable take on amateur athletics. As college students we can all appreciate how it feels to have $20 in our account and monitor that daily. I can also understand the want and need to be able to cash in but having been 20+ years removed from UW now, you being able to recognize how incredible the college experience is while you're living it is just absolutely refreshing. Selfishly as a diehard Badger, we are so happy you are coming back. National title or not, you won't ever regret this decision. Basketball only lasts so long and you will be successful in whatever career path your life takes you. Love your blog and GO BADGERS!

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  38. way to go Frank...it will be great to see you and all the other returning Badgers in the Kohl center next year.....having experienced Abdul Jabbar winning the NBA title in Milwaukee and the Badgers winning the NCAA hockey title Tiger sinking the chip on 16 at the Masters the Brewers clinching the AL Championship in "82 anf the Pack beating Carolina to go to the Super Bow and Camp Randal I agree with you there is no place like the Kohl center when Brust cans a 3pointer against MI. You are a good basketball player who has chooses to enjoy the journey.....

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  39. You have perspective beyond your age, integrity few find in their lifetime and a sense of perspective that will serve you well. College and especially Wisconsin will be a part of your life for ever.... some day you will realize just how outstanding of a decision you just made. Congratulations to you !

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  40. Frank, great blog! Where did the moose nickname come from?

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  41. It's Men with hearts like yours, that has made Bo the great coach he is! Go Bucky!

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  42. Why is everyone praising this goofball for making the only sensible decision for him. His decision had nothing to do with college being great (which it is!) or the NBA being boring (which it isn't!). His decision had to do with him not being good enough for the NBA, or at least not good enough to feel confident in getting a contract and being able to contribute to a team. So really the decision was not a decision it was the only choice for him. Your blog was a cool story and all, and you obviously have a lot of fans at Wisconsin. But be real, it's really all made up to make an obvious decision seem big. But there are a lot of NBA fans out there, Charlotte fans, and even NBA players coaches and other personel that you may have pissed off.

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  43. Just read this article. It was really impressive for all the right reasons. I think most of the players coming out early would have been better served if they had been able to read your comments prior to considering their position. This says much about the quality and character of the individuals representing Wisconsin. Here's wishing you and the rest of the student athletes at Wisconsin nothing but the best regardless of what happens next year. PS:Not a bad decision to concerning that volley ball player either I might add. hutt01-tampa

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  44. Frank, you are not just a man. You are THE man.

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