2014 NCAA Tournament: Frank Kaminsky enjoying ride through March Madness

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

All of a sudden, the Badgers' 7-footer is a national star.

MADISON -- Basking in the glow of Wisconsin's welcome-home party at the Kohl Center on Sunday, Frank Kaminsky was able to admit that Saturday's Elite Eight win over Arizona in Anaheim, Calif, had him a bit worn out, particularly considering the travel.

Of course, he was thrilled with the end result.

"You can't put that into words," Kaminsky said. "It's your whole life playing basketball culminating into going to the Final Four, which is what everyone talks about for their college basketball season."

Speaking to an estimated 10,000-plus people packed into the Kohl Center, Kaminsky acknowledged his appreciation of the fans that showed up at the Kohl Center Sunday afternoon and said he loved the pictures and videos he saw of State Street the night before. Still, what's at stake hasn't been lost on Kaminsky.

"Its win-or-go-home time," he said. "I don't want to go home. I want to come home with a national championship trophy.

"A Final Four trophy is nice, but there are bigger goals we have for ourselves."

Another highlight for Kaminsky came in the form of praise from Charles Barkley during the TBS broadcast, and he even heard from the NBA Hall of Famer after the win.

"I got to talk to him for a little bit after the game," Kaminsky said. "He is funny. I think him and Shaq are some of the funniest people on TV. I love watching them."

In light of the praise, Kaminsky elaborated on what he feels is the biggest transformation in his game from last year to this season.

"I think it is more of an opportunity this season. I had another whole year to get my body ready to play. People graduated and I was able to step in and fill that role. It came with hard work and an opportunity to play.

"I expected [the improvement] from myself. I don't think a lot of people expected it from me. They didn't really know, there were a lot of questions being asked about me before the season. I just tuned that out and had my own expectations for myself and I went out there tried to fulfill them."

His teammate Ben Brust later added praise for Kaminsky of his own.

"He is just an amazing player," Brust said. "The way he can score on the inside and then be able to step out and hit big shots, I'm sure his back is sore, I will tell you that much.

"Frank did a lot of those same things [last season] in practice everyday. This year, he has gotten the opportunity to show what he can do and has taken full advantage of that. I've seen it in him all along and it was just a matter of time before it came out."

Kaminsky said he's not paying attention to any of the attention he might be receiving from NBA teams. He joked at the end of the interview that he disagreed with coach Bo Ryan about being funnier this year.

"Funnier? No, actually I would say I'm a little more mature this year. Thank you very much!"

Kaminsky also addressed his desire to take in some of the Texas culture this week.

"I would like to try on one of those [10-gallon] hats."

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