Medina High graduate Tyler Kaminski now has something older brothers Kenny and Mike do not.
The 6-foot-7, 225-pound freshman forward became a national champion Tuesday night when his Spring Arbor (Mich.) men’s basketball team defeated Oregon Tech 82-76 in the NAIA Division II title game.
“I’m going to let them know about it a little bit,” Kaminski joked in a phone interview Wednesday afternoon while the Cougars bused back to Michigan from Sioux Falls, S.D. “It was an amazing experience. Dreams come true. You don’t win a national championship every year.”
Kaminski was a role player this season, averaging 0.8 points and 0.7 rebounds while appearing in 31 games for Spring Arbor (30-7). He shot 60 percent from the field (12-for-20) and made 2-of-6 3-pointers and 3-of-5 free throws while averaging 5.8 minutes.
Kaminski played one minute and had a rebound in the championship game and played seven scoreless minutes in a 66-50 semifinal victory over Marian (Wis.).
“I obviously want to contribute more next year, but I knew my role,” the 2018 Medina grad said. “We’re 11 strong, and every person, whether you didn’t play or played every single minute, has the same importance.
“If that meant being a great teammate, that’s what I had to do. You have to look outward, not inward. It’s all big picture.”
The 6-8 Kenny, a 2012 Medina grad who played collegiately at Michigan State and Ohio University, and 6-5 Mike, a 2014 grad who played at Defiance and Baldwin Wallace, endured many of the same adjustments their younger brother went through as a college freshman.
Heading into his sophomore season, Tyler Kaminski wants to strengthen his body and improve his ballhandling while also becoming a “knock-down” 3-point shooter.
“In college, you are playing all the best players from their high school teams,” he said. “Every college player was one of the best players at their high school. The speed and strength are different (in college). You’re not playing 14- to 18-year-olds, you’re playing 18- to 22-year-olds.”
A criminal justice major, Kaminski is extremely happy he chose Spring Arbor, which has an undergraduate enrollment of approximately 2,200 students and 3,300 overall.
“I love the atmosphere at school,” he said. “It’s really just a big family and community.”