June 30, 2016

Partly sunny

Kaminski will play at Michigan State

MEDINA – Kenny Kaminski was one of the first people to know that Tom Izzo was staying at Michigan State.

That favor was returned a week ago when Izzo became the first to know that Kaminski will continue his basketball career with the Spartans.

Shortly before he held a press conference to announce he was turning down the Cavaliers’ five-year, $30 million coaching offer, Izzo called Kaminski to inform him of that deci-sion.

The Medina High junior-to-be was as happy as fans in East Lansing ended up being moments later, as Michigan State was always his first choice to play col-lege basketball.

That was confirmed when the two-time All-Gazette choice made an oral commitment to accept a full athletic scholarship from the Spartans.

“It was scary,” Kaminski said of waiting for Izzo to decide whether to accept the Cavaliers’ offer. “I really liked Michigan State all along. As the decision dragged on, I was really scared. I didn’t want him to go. It was my No. 1 school.

“He ended up calling me right before his press conference to tell me he wasn’t leaving. It was a really big relief for me.”

Equally nice was no longer having to string along other schools, as the 6-foot-8, 235-pound Kaminski also received full-ride offers from Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Clemson, Du-quesne and Boston College.

“I didn’t feel like I was being 100 percent truthful to the colleges I wasn’t really interested in,” Kaminski said. “I didn’t want to lead them on. It’s a huge relief to know I’m going to play in the Big Ten one day.”

Before he does that, Kaminski still has two more high school seasons left to play.

A starter at Medina since he was a freshman, Kaminski averaged 14.7 points (4th in the county) and 5.6 rebounds while shooting .351 on 3-pointers (4th) and .776 at the line (5th) as a sophomore.

Included was a career-high 28-point game against Strongsville on Feb. 16 as Medina won the Northeast Ohio Conference Valley Division and advanced to the Midview Division I District finals.

Kaminski also played between 70 and 80 games with his AAU teams, Indiana Elite and the Buckeye Ballers, this spring and summer. Indiana Elite entered 13 tournaments across the country and won 11 of them.

“Last year, with Me-dina’s season, I had my first three offers,” said Kaminski, who credited his parents, Kenn and Kim, and Bees coach Jody Peters for helping him develop as a player and handle the re-cruiting process. “Then I started believing that if I keep on working hard, I can get to where I want to be one day.

“I had a real good July (of AAU ball) and pulled in a couple more offers, but it just kind of clicked that Michigan State was best for me.”

A power forward/center at Medina who can hit the 3-pointer, Kaminski said Michigan State plans to use him at both forward spots, so he wants to improve his ballhandling and ability to drive to the basket.

Knowing he will have to be able to defend on the perimeter if he plays small forward for the defensive-minded Izzo, Kaminski also wants to improve his agility and footwork, but he’s confident he’s found the perfect school for him.

“Right now, they have everything going for them,” Kaminski said of the Spartans. “They’ve been to six Final Fours in 12 years and they have great recruits coming in. Coach Izzo does a fantastic job of recruiting and coaching.

“I fit best at Michigan State.”

Contact Rick Noland at (330) 721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com.

Rick Noland About Rick Noland

Rick Noland is the Cavs beat writer for The Gazette and the author of "Over Time," a compilation of stories he's written in more than 30 years as a journalist. He can be reached at 330-721-4061 or rnoland@medina-gazette.com. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.