A cheerful Frank Kaminsky is honored at Benet Academy

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Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky waves to the crowd at Benet Academy after his number 44 was retired by the school on April 16th.

LISLE – He could very well be sitting out there in the seat right with them. That’s what makes this big man special.

Truth be told, at heart Frank Kaminsky believes he could be a little too young to stand in front of the students at Benet Academy that came to the school’s gym around 2:30 P.M. on Thursday afternoon.

“I was always a goof ball growing up, I guess I just haven’t grown up yet,” said the Wisconsin center. “I’m 22 years old and I feel like I’m 10.”

That’s about four years younger than the high school freshman that watched Kaminsky speak at his alma mater at a ceremony in his honor. The seven-footer added another moment to memorable month on Thursday as his number 44 was retired by Benet Academy.

This comes just a week-and-a-half after leading Wisconsin to its first National Championship game in 74 years. A jersey retirement along with a proclamation making April 16th “Frank Kaminsky Day” in Lisle adds to a number of honors that includes Big Ten, Wooden, Naismith and Robertson Player of the Year Awards.

“It’s weird to think about,” said Kaminsky of having his number retired at Benet just four years after graduating from the school. “It’s awesome. There’s not much that you can say other than it’s awesome.”

What might have others saying that on Thursday and perhaps throughout Kaminsky’s senior season deals with the attitude which he displayed during the ceremony in his honor.

He walked through the row of cheerleaders to the stage loosely as the crowd rose for applause. When he was given a chance to speak with the students Kaminsky was willing to crack a few jokes about himself, recalling how he struggled as a player early in his career at Benet.

“I’ve never been in a room with so many people excited to see me leave the school,” joked Kaminsky when he took to the podium, earning a few laughs from the crowd.

His easy-going attitude was even displayed during a video tribute to Kaminsky made by Benet students. Spliced in among his highlights on the floor were some clips of him tearing it up with his dancing shoes which were featured on a number of shows before and during Final Four week.

It's gotten him the nickname "Frank The Tank. As you might imagine, he's just fine with that.

"I just know how to be me, I don't know how to be anyone else," said Kaminsky of his fun-loving attitude. "That person you see on the screen is me and how I act all the time. So if you see me doing something stupid that's how I act 100 percent of the time."

His father, Frank Sr., will back that up. He was front row to hear his son's speech on Thursday and his exploits this season so he's not surprised to see Frank Jr. enjoying his incredible ride.

"It's the way he's always been," said Kaminsky of Frank Jr. "He's been raised properly, he's very respectful and he's been taught how to act right in public and he does all that. That's just Frank being Frank."

Most likely Kaminsky will be the same in the NBA where he's expected to be a first round pick after his strong senior season. The lead up to that figures to be emotional for Frank Jr, Sr and his mother Mary as they wait to see where the future might take him.

For Frank's mother one thing is for sure.

"He's not going to be pretentious for anybody. What you see if what you get from my son and I think that is what's so endearing about him," said Kaminsky. "People feel like they know him. We were walking through the airport yesterday coming back from the Oscar Robertson award and people came up to him and said 'Hi friend, how are ya?' like they know him.

"That's a great feeling."

Her son would agree.

 

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