If there is a single player on either team that has benefited from the exposure of making it this far in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, it’s Przemek Karnowski.
The 300-pound, Polish center from Gonzaga has been making waves throughout the NCAA tournament for his disruptive size and playmaking ability. Win or lose in tonight’s matchup against the North Carolina Tar Heels, Karnowski will be attempting to make his foray into the NBA.
For The Win caught up with fellow Polish countryman and Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat for an honest talk about Karnowski, who he now regards as something of a younger brother figure.
Throughout the interview, Gortat spoke candidly about Kranowski and the challenges that lay ahead of him due to his extraordinary size.
He’s definitely an NBA player talking about his skills and passing and shooting and ball stuff and knowing the game. His basketball IQ, he’s definitely an NBA player. He’s just got a big issue with his body. That’s going to be the question: Can he make the NBA because of his body?
Gortat is the starting center on the Polish national team, Kranowski is his backup. At 23 years old, Kranowski outweighs and out-sizes Gortat. When asked what challenges facing someone his size brought:
He’s a big, strong dude. It’s not like he’s out there standing and pretending. First of all, he’s a very skilled player. I can handle different things on the court, yes. With him being 300 pounds heavy, I can outrun him, I can outwork him. But at the end of the day, he’s very big and skilled.
Kranowski is considered to be the figure head in the next wave of Polish basketball. After finish second in the Under-20 National Tournament to the United States, Kranowski became a star in his home country.
Since then, fans have anxiously awaited his attempt to make the leap to the NBA.
Kranowski has shown there is more to his game than size throughout this NBA tournament. However, players in the NBA are faster, stronger and more skilled. While not projected as a lottery pick in the draft, the big Gonzaga export will find himself on a roster somewhere when all the chips have fallen where they may; that’ll be when the real work begins.
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