Good Friends, Fierce Competitors

Former AAU teammates, Nnanna Egwu and Frank Kaminsky will be reunited on Wednesday.

Good friends and former teammates will be reunited tonight when Illinois and Wisconsin tip off in Madison.

Illini Nnanna Egwu and Badgers' big man Frank Kaminsky are both from Chicago and ran together with the Illinois Wolves AAU program as high school standouts.

The two went their separate Big Ten ways, both now starters for Top 25 programs.

"It's amazing how better he's gotten since I first started playing with him," Egwu said.

A 7-0, 234-pound junior, Kaminsky is enjoying a breakout season. A year after averaging less than five points in 10 minutes a game, he's putting up nearly 14 points and six rebounds a game.

Egwu will be called on to defend his friend.

"He can stretch the floor. He can really shoot it, he's a really good shooter," Egwu, averaging 7.9 points and 5.3 rebounds, said. "He can put the ball on the floor. In high school I saw him play point. He's really skilled, a really skilled big man. We just have to contain him and force him to make shots."

Egwu says he and Kaminsky talk regularly, but that the buildup to these match-ups does lead to trash talk. Egwu hasn't beaten Wisconsin and his buddy Frank, a point that has been brought up this week.

"He's got me," Egwu said. "… I've got to figure out a way to get back.

"He's trying to beat me and I'm trying to beat him. After the game it's kind of like bragging rights."

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