Similar Standouts

They are different players from different states but the similarities between Traevon Jackson and Frank Kaminsky are numerous to count. Both come from basketball families, both have tireless work ethics, both have not come close to reaching their potential and both can call themselves future Wisconsin Badgers.

MADISON - Growing up, both Frank Kaminsky and Traevon Jackson never had to look far to find someone to teach them the finer points of playing basketball.

Kaminsky, a 6-10, 220-pound forward from Benet Academy in Lisle, Ill., watched his father, Frank, Sr., coach at the NAIA college and high school levels. Jackson, a 6-2, 210-pound point guard from Westerville, Ohio, watched old tapes of his dad, Jim Jackson, star at Ohio State.

Both got the game introduced to them by their farther and both relied on the counsel of their father when the rigors of the recruiting process both started to heat up. Most importantly, both families pointed to the University of Wisconsin had the right fit.

With two players having similar basketball backgrounds growing up, it was only fitting that both players gave Head Coach Bo Ryan their verbal commitments for the Badgers 2011 recruiting class on Saturday, joining Illinois point guard George Marshall in the class.

"My father was highly recruited out of high school, so he knew what to expect for me and what questions needed to be asked," Jackson said. "He answered all my questions, gave me advice when I ask for it and gave me an edge. He really loves what Coach Ryan represents and thinks it's a great fit for me."

Jackson has been a target for UW associate coach Greg Gard since last spring. Turning in a spectacular junior season for Westerville South, averaging 20.5 points, eight rebounds, and 5.6 assists per game and being named second-team all-state, Jackson had visited Madison in the fall and made a return trip last week to get the approval of his mother.

"I had already seen that Wisconsin was a great school, and I wanted to show my mom what I saw," said Jackson, who also took his mother to State Street Brats for lunch. "We got to spend a lot of time with the coaching staff, and that meant a lot."

Jackson, a dynamic shooting guard with accuracy from the perimeter, a solid defender and incredible work ethic, picked Wisconsin over his other finalist, Arizona State. Jackson did not get a recruiting look from Ohio State, even with his background and living just 15 miles north of Columbus, which made his commitment to the Badgers more special.

"I'm going to get to play close to home, which really means a lot," Jackson said. "Coach Gard and I have developed a great relationship. He was real loyal to me, tried to make a lot of games and was always there for me."

Jackson's comment holds true for Kaminsky, who became arguably the fastest rising prospect in Illinois since visiting Madison in early May. During that visit, Kaminsky thought he was simply taking an unofficial visit to get introduced to the campus and recruiting coach Howard Moore. That changed when Ryan offered him a scholarship.

Kaminsky subsequently picked up offers from DePaul, Illinois and Northwestern and had planned trips to Indiana and Notre Dame. He canceled those last two trips after visiting UW on June 9.

"I just knew I wanted to go Wisconsin," Kaminsky said in a message, also giving credit to Moore's recruitment of him.

Kaminsky does a little bit of everything for Benet Academy. Averaging 12.5 points, 9.3 rebounds and four blocked shots during his junior season, Kaminsky is the typical Bo Ryan player, a ‘big' who likes to battle in the paint for loose balls and can step out to make a three-point jumper.

"He loves playing against top competition," said Mike Mullins, the AAU coach for the Illinois Wolves where Kaminsky plays. "He can pass, shoot, dribble, defend and he still can get better."

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