Benet’s Kaminsky, Sobolewski are Sun Co-Players of Year
By Blake Baumgartner For Sun-Times Media March 26, 2011 4:54PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
They are perhaps the two most critical positions on a basketball court: point guard and center.
No two positions dominate the game more in dictating pace and differentiating great teams from middle-of-the-pack teams, especially on the high school level.
Having established threats and Big Ten signees — point guard David Sobolewski and Frank Kaminsky — at each of those spots, expectations were extremely high coming into this season for Benet’s boys basketball team after winning a sectional and finishing 26-4 in 2009-10.
Walking off the East Aurora court in stunned silence on March 8 after a 60-52 loss to the host Tomcats, the accomplishments of both Sobolewski and Kaminsky won’t be forgotten despite falling short of a Class 4A state championship.
“I think we’re 45-2 in our last 47 games, so that speaks for itself,” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said after the Tomcats ended his team’s season in an East Aurora Sectional semifinal. “It was short of what we wanted, no doubt about it. Short of what we wanted, but it’s an incredible run for those kids.
“I think it speaks for itself. We would have liked to have advanced. Obviously, it didn’t happen. But what they’ve accomplished in the last two years is pretty special.”
Standing as the biggest reasons for the Redwings’ memorable but bittersweet 29-1 campaign, Sobolewski and Kaminsky are the Naperville Sun’s Boys Basketball Co-Players of the Year.
With both serving as the linchpins, Benet rolled off a 29-game winning streak to begin the season, setting a school record, and rose to the No. 1 ranking in the state for the first time in school history after its 58-54 victory over 2010 Class 4A state champion Simeon on Feb. 19.
The 6-foot-11 Kaminsky, headed for Wisconsin this fall, raised his scoring output from 13 points a game as a junior, when he averaged a double-double, to 15 points a game as a senior on his way to being named the East Suburban Catholic Conference’s Player of the Year.
“If you look at Frank and his progress in the last two years, it really has been remarkable,” Heidkamp said. “From the start of his junior year through now, he has to be as improved as any player in the state.”
The increased production from Kaminsky, who also pulled down an average of 9.7 rebounds a game, was made all the more critical while Sobolewski, named the 2009-10 Player of the Year by the ESCC and Naperville Sun, was sidelined for several games during the middle of the season while dealing with back issues.
“Frank is incredible to play with. There’s like, seriously, no one else I’d rather play with than Frank on the inside,” senior guard Matt Parisi said of Kaminsky shortly after Kaminsky’s keen ability to pass out of the post permitted Parisi to pour in 23 and 21 points in consecutive games against Carmel and Marian Catholic in January.
Because of the missed time, Sobolewski saw his scoring output dip from 18 points a game as a junior to 15.2 points this season. But he still maintained his six-assist average in directing an explosive Redwings offense that averaged 58.6 points a game and topped the 60-point mark 14 times.
While the season concluded much earlier than expected, the 55-5 run over the past two seasons spearheaded by both Sobolewski and Kaminsky will go down in program lore. Heidkamp can’t overstate the leadership his point guard provided on and off the floor during his first three years as the program’s head coach.
The performance turned in on the court in each of the last two years is just one aspect Sobolewski will miss as he prepares to take his talents to Evanston to play for Northwestern.
“I think the thing I’ll miss most is how close-knit our team was,” he said. “We’re just such a close group, on and off the court, and we really enjoyed being with each other, playing with each other every game. We practiced really hard and we’re enemies on the court in practice, but then when practice was over we were buddies again. Obviously, playing for coach Heidkamp (was great). At this point, I can’t imagine playing for anybody but him.
“I spent the last three years playing for him, and it’s obviously been a huge privilege.
He’s the best at what he does in the state, in my opinion.”
Heidkamp believes Sobolewski and Kaminsky, who were both named to the Sun-Times Class 4A First Team recently, have found the right fits in both of their college selections.
“I think they’re gonna do very well in the Big Ten,” he said of the duo. “Dave’s gonna be in a position, I think, where he’s gonna compete for playing time and I hope right away as a freshman. Frank’s got tremendous potential as his body continues to develop and his skill level develops. He’s gonna be a really unique college player.”