The 2013-14 college basketball season was The Frank Kaminsky Show, at least in the state capitol of Wisconsin. He exploded onto the scene with a 43 point effort against North Dakota, and wrapped things up by being one of, if not the best player in the country. Kaminsky averaged 14 points and six rebounds, and helped guide the Badgers to a Final Four appearance before they were busted out by Kentucky.
[watches Aaron Harrison drain a ridiculous three-pointer in Josh Gasser's face about 6 or 7 thousand more times]
No one would have blamed Kaminsky if he had bailed on his senior season to head to the NBA Draft. But return he did, and he explained his decision in a post on his personal blog. Most of his reasoning makes sense. "I like college." "We're going to be good next season." "My teammates are my family." Blah blah blah.
But one of Kaminsky's points is insane. I'll let him say it in his own words:
I know the NBA has their crazy fans and all, but if you look at all of their games, there are games when teams get hardly any fans, and it looks flat out boring. At the Kohl Center, we play in front of nearly 17,000 fans every single time we step onto the court. When we travel, we play in front of sell out crowds who absolutely hate us. Not because of who is on the team, but because of where we go to school. Who could leave that?
Woah, woah, woah, woah, woah. Pause button, Einstein.
First. According to this handy ESPN chart, 18 NBA teams averaged a bigger crowd than the "nearly 17,000 fans" that Wisconsin averages at home, and every single team in the NBA averaged a better attendance average than the 12,850 that was Wisconsin's average road attendance last season. That's a pretty bad way to characterize "hardly any fans," especially when Kaminsky is probably not going to end up going to one of the eight teams that averaged 100% attendance or more (except for the Knicks). In fairness to Kaminsky, these are announced figures, meaning they're likely the PAID attendance numbers, regardless of whether or not anyone showed up and sat in those seats.
That's mostly arguing semantics, though, and even when it's not, it's comparing NBA arenas to college arenas, which tend to be smaller in almost every circumstance (unless, y'know, you play in an NBA arena like a certain college team in Milwaukee that I know about). Let's move on to things that we can prove through facts.
Last year, Wisconsin played 11 road games. Wisconsin was ranked in the top 25 for every single one of those games. FIVE TIMES, Wisconsin's host did not sell out the building.
So. That's awkward. In three more games, Wisconsin's foe announced an attendance of exactly their capacity. Is that a paid number or the actual turnstile number? I'm going to guess it's the paid number, so there's a pretty solid chance that there were empty seats scattered throughout the building in those games, if not in wide swaths.
In the remaining three games, the hosting team announced an attendance over capacity, which does help Kaminsky's case. Unfortunately, one of those games was at UW-Green Bay, and I'm gonna guess that there was a significant number of red shirts in the audience that night.
[finds photo gallery]
[sees lots and lots of red shirts and almost no green shirts in shots where the crowd is visible]
[double checks that this was actually a road game at the Resch Center]
Frank. Listen. You're a really good, maybe great basketball player. You're clearly staying academically eligible, so you're likely at least a halfway smart guy, even if I giggled at finding out you're majoring in something called "life science communications." There's lots of reasons to go to the NBA, and there's lots of reasons to stay in school. You don't have to lie about one of them just to make Badgers fans feel better about themselves, or worse, to make yourself feel better about your decision.