Kaminski continues to contribute of late

Redshirt freshman forward hits career high with 15 points against Minnesota with five big 3-pointers in the Spartans' overtime win.

Catching the ball at the top of the key, Michigan State's Kenny Kaminski could feel the crowd rise as the ball left his hands.

It was understandable given his hot hand against Minnesota on Saturday – and the crowd was feeling it.

"I love the game and people love 3s," he said. "It's the big dunks and 3s. That's what really energizes the whole building. Fortunately, I had the place jumping."

Hitting his first five attempts from 3-point range on his way to a career-high 15 points, the redshirt freshman had confidence brimming with each look.

"It's all confidence for me," he said. "I don't really know how many shots I'm going to get before a game. I just know the shots I'm going to take need to go in and, in my mind, my teammates are relying on me to make shots.

"Obviously, I did a pretty good job of that (Saturday)."

Sandwiched between a pair of suspensions, Kaminski has consistently done a good job of hitting those shots – his job as he sees it. He is 15 of 24 from behind the arc in nine games, with just seven shot attempts from inside the arc.

He said the comfort factor in his game has continued to grow with each game.

"I'm getting a lot more reps in practice," he said. "I just kind of rely on my teammates. Right now, I'm not a playmaker. I just do what I do and my role is to make shots. I'm letting the game come to me."

After going through his second suspension of the season – which he previously said left him embarrassed having to answer questions back home in Medina, Ohio – he came back confident and knowing he had to show his teammates and coach Tom Izzo that he was ready.

"If I came out not playing well or not ready to play, then I knew I wouldn't play at all the rest of the year," he said. "Coming off a suspension like that is big time, so I just did everything I possibly could to come back confident so when I did come back, coach trusted me and knew I just didn't take all that time off and my teammates trusted me and it's showing now."

The challenges from Izzo still exist to play on both ends of the court – and be better on the glass.

"Like I said last year, I will still say it, if he continues to improve and we try to get a rebound once in a while and guard someone once in a while, he can shoot it with anybody," Izzo said.

Kaminski, who had just one rebound against the Gophers, said that is an area he wants to impact the game more.

"I would like to see me get close to seven or eight rebounds a game," he said. "I'm 6-8. I may not be the most athletic kid, but I'm going to box out and get the rebound."

There is little doubt he can keep changing games on the offensive end though. Minnesota coach Richard Pitino saw that firsthand.

"He changed the way we guarded certain things," Pitino said. "He made some big time shots off of an offensive rebound. When you get a kid like that with that height, it's really hard to guard him."

So as Kaminski continues to improve, it only gives more credence to the thought that he will bring the crowd at Breslin Center to its feet in anticipation many more times in the coming years.

But don't expect to see many "heat check" shots from him.

"I try not to take those kind of heat check shots," he said. "I just try to take good shots, timely shots."

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