Kaminski excited to be back in the game

After almost two years of absence, redshirt freshman forward getting into the mix again after missing first few gams because of a suspension.

The road was anything but quick and easy in the past two years for Michigan State forward Kenny Kaminski, but he finally got back into a game of basketball.

The redshirt freshman, after missing the greater part of two years with injuries, saw his first time in a Spartans uniform Monday in MSU's 82-67 win against Portland.

As he walked up to the scorer's table, there was one thought running through his mind: "It's finally here."

"It really was a dream come true," he said. "It was one of my dreams to always play college basketball. It's been a very long process for me with being injured last year and the suspension this year and not playing against Kentucky. It was pretty awesome being in there and was a really good feeling.

"I didn't get to touch the ball, but to be honest I really didn't care. I was out there. My dream's finally here. It was pretty cool."

Kaminski played just two minutes in his debut, which was delayed by a suspension from coach Tom Izzo because of academic reasons.

He said not playing right away this season was difficult and was different than his redshirt year while recovering from a shoulder injury.

"Last year, I was sitting on the bench knowing I'm not going to get in this game," he said. "When I was going through my suspension, I thought I really could be playing. It was a really disappointing for me and my family. Coach was disappointed in me.

"I handled the punishments and it's time to move on and keep getting better."

Still, Kaminski remained thankful to make his debut because there was a point in time before his freshman year of high school that he didn't think he would ever get a chance to play college basketball.

"I had a pretty bad summer and nothing was really going right for me basketball wise," he said. "Then I met (former Saginaw High and current Northern Illinois coach) Lou Dawkins, who was from Saginaw. His whole family really got me back on track. The guys I was playing with, Matt (Costello) and others, gave me a new confidence."

Kaminksi credited Dawkins for really getting through to him and helping him see himself as a different player.

"It really just changed my mindset on everything," he said. "Yes, I am an undersized post player, but there are so many other things I can do other than jump out of the gym and dunk on somebody.

"He really taught me and once I started to get my offers and everything, my confidence just sky rocketed."

He wound up picking Michigan State and now is looking to make an impact with the top-ranked Spartans.

"We have five bigs right now that can all play," he said. "Reality of basketball is not all five guys can play and we all wanna play. It's not only a game, it's also a business. We all know that. That's why we work as hard as we do. We all have the same goals and aspirations in life."

After two years of waiting to get back to it, Kaminski knows it's not too late to contribute.

"We are three games in," he said. "It's a long season. We're playing til April. We expect to be playing in April."

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