- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Highly-touted freshman forward Sam Dekker will be a major factor for Wisconsin. But he's not the player who has wowed coach Bo Ryan during the first 10 days of official practice. Sophomore center Frank Kaminsky is the player who has caught Ryan's eye more than any other. "He's one of the most improved guys I've ever coached,'' said Ryan of Kaminsky, who averaged 1.8 points in 7.7 minutes a game last season. "He's really doing some nice things. It's going to be hard to keep him off the floor. He moves his body, he know how to move. He has a good feel for passing as a big and he's knocking down the 3-pointer like crazy. He's a big that can stretch and in the post he's developed more than last year.'' Somehow no one should be surprised that Ryan has found yet another big that developed and will suddenly be on the Big Ten radar two years into his career.
2. Iowa is a legitimate sleeper in the Big Ten. I had a question tweeted to me that Iowa coach Fran McCaffery answered on our ESPNU college basketball podcast Monday. The question was simple: Can Iowa win the Big Ten? McCaffery's answer was direct. "I do think it's possible,'' he said. "Can you win the Big Ten with a freshman point guard? Aaron Craft (Ohio State) did. And last year nobody was talking about Trey Burke at Michigan except for me. We're going to beat each other up but we can't lose games by four. At some point we have to win the close games. Michigan did that last year with a freshman point guard. We'll have to do that with a freshman point guard.'' McCaffery is referring to freshman Mike Gesell, who will be the point guard. Meanwhile, Michigan did have a freshman point guard in Burke and the Wolverines finished in a three-way tie for first with Ohio State and Michigan State last season.
3. One of the reasons I have long speculated about why Tubby Smith has stayed at Minnesota is how much he enjoys working with his son Saul on the staff. I spent time with them two years ago and saw how rich their relationship had become professionally with Saul on the staff. Saul's arrest for suspicion of a DUI and subsequent suspension has to be a crushing blow to Tubby. The Minnesota experiment has not been smooth since Day One and this is yet another major obstacle. But this is personal and it will be very interesting to see the long-term effects on the father if Saul doesn't come back to the bench.