this April 5, 2014, file photo, Wisconsin forward Sam
Dekker (15) shoots over Kentucky guard Aaron Harrison
during the first half of an NCAA Final Four tournament
college basketball semifinal game in Arlington, Texas.
Wisconsin is No. 3 in The Associated Press preseason
Seven-footer Frank Kaminsky's inside-out game won't take
opponents by surprise this year. Getting named a preseason
All-American kind of takes away any element of surprise that
the jump-shooting big man may have had left.
Kaminsky and Sam Dekker can make opponents pay just as
dearly from just about anywhere on the court — just like
This is the
predicament that opponents of the third-ranked Badgers must
face all season.
Ryan likes big men who can stretch the floor and shoot the
3. In Kaminsky and Dekker, he may have his best frontcourt
tandem yet in his 14th year in Madison.
think we do fit the mold in a sense," Dekker said,
"but at the same time we add a little bit of dynamic of
our own skills."
A look at
some of the top frontcourts in the country for the college
this Jan. 12, 2014, file photo, Arizona forward
Brandon Ashley, left, puts up a shot as Southern
California center Omar Oraby, center, and guard Julian
Jacobs defend during the second half of an NCAA
college basketball game in Los Angeles. Arizona lost
two key contributors from that team: Guard and leader
Nick Johnson, and athletic freshman forward Aaron
Gordon. And yet, the Wildcats are considered on the
short list of favorites to win this season's national
The 6-foot-9 Dekker grew about an inch and added 10 pounds
of muscle in the offseason to weigh in at 230 pounds. He
impressed this summer at the Kevin Durant and LeBron James
skills camps. Dekker suffered what the team termed a minor
lower left leg injury that sidelined him for the final few
weeks of the preseason, though he is expected to be ready
for the regular season.
the Badgers are deep up front beyond Kaminsky and Dekker.
Hayes, the Big Ten's Sixth Man of the Year as a freshman
last season, has been working on his jumper. He already has
the athleticism to make nifty baseline moves to the bucket.
Six-foot-10 senior Duje Dukan is a hard-working reserve who
can hit jumpers, while sophomore Vitto Brown and freshman
Ethan Happ have the talent and potential to crack the
rotation at most other programs.
Willie Cauley-Stein, left, blocks the shot of
Georgetown's Gerald Coleman during the second half of
an NCAA college basketball exhibition game, Sunday,
Nov. 9, 2014, in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 121-52.
Goodbye Aaron Gordon, hello Stanley Johnson. The athletic,
6-foot-7 Johnson could be a one-and-done phenom for the
Wildcats, who were already fortified with the return of
6-foot-9 junior Brandon Ashley from a broken foot.
Seven-footer Kaleb Tarczewski averaged 9.9. points last
season, while 6-7 Rondae Hollis-Jefferson averaged 9.1
Speaking of freshman phenoms, the 6-11, 270-pound Jahlil
Okafor is the latest presumed one-year wonder for the Blue
Devils. Okafor has already been called "a dominant
player" by coach Mike Krzyzewski. A preseason
All-American before playing a college minute, Okafor
averaged 24 points and 11.3 rebounds as a high school
senior. Amile Jefferson, a 6-9 junior, also returns in the
frontcourt for Duke.
this Jan. 25, 2014, file photo, Wisconsin's Frank
Kaminsky (44) slam dunks the ball late in the second
half of an NCAA college basketball game against Purdue
in West Lafayette, Ind. Kaminsky was selected to The
Associated Press preseason All-America NCAA college
basketball team Monday, Nov. 3, 2014.
The Wildcats keep stockpiling first-year talent, with 6-11
Karl Anthony Towns and 6-10 Trey Lyles joining a frontcourt
that already has returning 7-footers Willie Cauley-Stein and
Dakari Johnson. Add the 6-9 Marcus Lee and 6-8 Alex
Poythress, and the Wildcats have the numbers to substitute
in the frontcourt as if they were a hockey team tinkering
with line changes.
Not to be outdone by their in-state rivals, the Cardinals
boast preseason All-American forward Montrezl Harrell. The
athletic, 6-foot-8 Harrell averaged 14 points and 8.4
rebounds last season. He worked on his jumper this offseason.
Coach Rick Pitino wants another returnee, 6-5 senior forward
Wayne Blackshear (8.2 points) to be more aggressive this
Don't mess with Texas in the paint. The stocky Longhorns
already return 6-10 center Prince Ibeh, 6-8 forward Jonathan
Holmes and 6-9, 285-pound forward Cam Ridley. Prized recruit
Myles Turner, a 6-11 forward, could end up being the best of
the bunch. The freshman can block shots and hit 3s. Coach
Rick Barnes has so much depth he has said he has tinkered in
practice with a lineup using four forwards to go with point
guard Isaiah Taylor.