Kenny Kaminski is no longer a member of the Michigan State basketball team. Kaminski initially broke the news himself over the weekend in a tweet.
I am no longer going to play at Michigan State, I will be transferring to another school but have not decided where yet
— Kenny Kaminski (@KennyKaminski) August 2, 2014
On Monday it was clarified that Kaminski was dismissed from the program. Tom Izzo said in a statement that “Despite multiple opportunities, Kenny Kaminski could not live up to the obligations necessary to be a part of our program.”
As was mentioned in the statement, this isn’t the first time Kaminski had been in Izzo’s doghouse. At the beginning of last season Izzo suspended Kaminski for two exhibition games and the season opener citing Kaminski wasn’t taking care of his obligations off the court. Izzo then suspended Kaminski again for three games in December. So while this dismissal is somewhat out of the blue, it can’t be considered all that surprising.
Kaminski is a 6-foot-8 redshirt sophomore who averaged 4.9 points and 1.5 rebounds per game last year in 12.2 minutes. Kaminski led the team in three point shooting percentage at 49.4% making 38 of 77 shots from downtown. Kaminski was in line for a starting role this year after coming off the bench last season.
The dismissal makes things even tougher for Michigan State this year. The Spartans were already needing to replace their three leading scorers in Keith Appling, Adreian Payne and Gary Harris, even before the Kaminski dismissal. Harris, Payne, Appling, Kaminski, and fellow transfer Russell Byrd accounted for 58.2% of MSU’s total points from a year ago.
What this means for next year for Michigan State is that Tom Izzo and the Spartans will need to get big contributions from some of its younger players.
Javon Bess might be the player that benefits the most from Kaminski’s departure. Bess is a 6-foot-5, 185-pound freshman from Columbus, Ohio. Last year Bess averaged 22.5 points and 7.5 rebounds in his senior year of high school. Bess is a versatile wing player who can play multiple positions, something that should make him appealing to Izzo right from the start. The downside from Bess is that he isn’t a great shooter right now and will either need to improve his shot to play the shooting guard spot, or add some strength to play forward.
Another incoming freshman who could benefit is Marvin Clark. Clark is a 6-foot-7, 219-pound forward and was a high school teammate of fellow freshman Lourawls Nairn. Clark played both forward positions last year in high school and averaged nearly 22 points and seven rebounds. He has the size and strength to play down low against smaller lineups and the athleticism to step out and play the wing as well. Clark has a solid mid-range shot (12-17 feet) but will need to work on expanding his range if he is going to play the wing.
The other interesting player for MSU this season is transfer Bryn Forbes from Cleveland State. Forbes was a high school teammate of Denzel Valentine at Lansing Sexton. MSU applied for a family hardship waiver for Forbes from the NCAA and if granted, would allow Forbes to play for the Spartans this year. Forbes would be a junior with two years of eligibility left. Last year with Cleveland State Forbes averaged 15.6 points per game and shot 42.4% from three-point range making 81 total triples. At 6-foot-3 Forbes doesn’t have the size of Kaminski, and would clearly be a guard, but his three-point shooting ability would help stretch the floor.
Kaminski’s dismissal is a blow to the Spartans for sure. The 2014-15 season was already set to be a transition year before this news came out. Kaminski’s size and shooting ability made him a tough matchup offensively, even if he was a bit of a reliability on the defensive end. Michigan State will likely not be able to replace him with one player, but could make up for the loss with several different players picking up the slack.
Spartan fans shouldn’t be surprised that Coach Izzo would dismiss a player who could play a key role for him in a transition year. Izzo has proven that if you aren’t doing what is expected of you, on and off the court, then you aren’t going to play for him. Korie Lucious and Chris Allen were both dismissed from the MSU basketball program for similar reasons.
What was going to be an interesting transition year has gotten even more interesting with the dismissal of Kenny Kaminski. My guess is that many people will be ready to write the Spartans off this year, which is exactly when Tom Izzo does his best work.