UW men's basketball: Jim Jackson's son among two commitments for Badgers

2010-06-12T19:00:00Z UW men's basketball: Jim Jackson's son among two commitments for BadgersRob Schultz | 608-252-6487 | rschultz@madison.com madison.com

Frank Kaminsky and Traevon Jackson represented the long and short parts of the double dose of good news that the University of Wisconsin men's basketball team received Saturday.

Kaminsky, a 6-10, 220-pound forward from Benet Academy in Lisle, Ill., and Jackson, a 6-2, 210-pound point guard from Westerville, Ohio, both made oral commitments to play for the Badgers.

They will be high school seniors next year and are part of the Badgers' 2011 freshman class.

Both players are rising stars with lots of intangibles and who come from basketball families. They are also strong students and leaders who were discovered early by the UW coaching staff and were won over by the coaches' loyalty toward them.

Jackson, whose father is former Ohio State star Jim Jackson -- now serving as a color commentator for Big Ten Network basketball games -- is a strong, confident guard with great vision and a rapidly improving jump shot.

He also possesses great vision and confidence and has a reputation as an excellent passer and tireless defender as well as a scorer.

"Their loyalty toward me showed they really cared for me," said Jackson, who chose Wisconsin over Arizona State. "That changed the whole situation."

Kaminsky is comfortable facing the basket as well as with his back to the basket. He is tailor-made for UW coach Bo Ryan's offense because he can step out and make the 3-pointer and doesn't shy away from mixing it up in the paint.

"I knew Wisconsin was going to be the right place for me the first time I went there for a visit," said Kaminsky, whose father is a former college player and coach. "They showed me everything and I liked everything."

The coaches for Kaminsky and Jackson believe the Badgers are getting special players.

"When we do our workouts Trae is shooting almost 70 percent from 3," said Westerville South assistant coach Anthony Cato. "So he's really developing into a nice shooter. But the best part of his game is that he has great vision. He sees the floor really well. He's a do-it-all player for us."

Cato said Jackson was a second-team all-state choice after he averaged 20.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4 steals and 5 deflections per game for Westerville South this past season.

The team went 20-0 in the regular season before getting upset in the third round of the state tournament.

Jackson was not recruited by the Buckeyes, even though his high school is located about 15 miles north of Columbus.

Since he's the son of an Ohio State icon, Jackson's game has been dissected a hundred different ways. Cato said that has made Jackson a better player.

"The best thing about Traevon is that he recognizes his weaknesses and really, really hammers them out," said Cato, who added that Jackson doesn't have a big-time attitude.

As an eighth-grader, Jackson biked 45 minutes one way each summer day to take part in skill session drills at a high school. Cato said Jackson never missed a session, even though they weren't mandatory.

"He finds a way to get things done," Cato added. "He's the hardest working kid I've ever met."

Kaminsky may be one of the most rapidly improving players in the country. He led Benet Academy to the Super Sectionals of the Illinois boys state basketball tournament before losing to Simeon.

Kaminsky averaged 12.5 points, just under 10 rebounds and four blocked shots per game for Benet, according to his coach, Gene Heidcamp.

Then, in late May, he received lots of attention from college coaches across the country when he played well during Bob Gibbons' tournament in North Carolina.

"The fact he's a legitimate 6-10 and can score in the low post and shoot the 3, that opens a lot of things up," said Heidcamp, who added that he took calls last week from coach from Pitt, Wake Forest, Cal and Arkansas.

"He is a commodity. As he played better and better, he drew more attention."

Kaminsky, whose father, Frank, Sr., coached at the NAIA college and high school levels, has a very high basketball IQ.

"His upside is really high," Heidcamp said.

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