Basketball: Bears hope to land Polish 7-footer

Cal could hear within the next few days whether it will land a top young European big man.

Przemyslaw “Przemek” Karnowski, a 7-foot, 275-pound center from Bydsoszcz, Poland, apparently will choose between the Bears and Gonzaga. The Zags have been recruiting him for more than a year, according to published reports.

But Karnowski visited Cal a week ago and told the coaching staff he expects to make a decision this week.

Karnowski was MVP of the FIBA U18 All-Star game in Kaunas, Lithuania in September, after scoring a game-high 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting. His team won 81-80. Here are some YouTube highlights which show off his face-up game to 15 or 16 feet, a nice hook shot and the ability to run the floor.

In an interview with Eurobasket at the U18 All-Star game, the left-hander said, “I have to work on low post moves, on how to use the screen, how to play pick-and-roll, how to box out and rebound. There are a lot of things you have to do.”

Karnowski, 18, said he draws inspiration from Phoenix Suns center Martin Gortat, Poland’s only current NBA player.

“He shows how you have to train hard and believe in yourself,” Karnowski said. “It’s every player’s dream to play for their country and in the NBA, but you have to believe in your skills, yourself.”

In July, Karnowski averaged 13.2 points and a team-best 6.2 rebounds as Poland went 5-4 at the U19 FIBA World Championships. Karnowski scored 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a win over Crotia, scored 23 vs. Russia and 16 vs. Lithuania.

Later that month, Karnowski averaged 11.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocked shots to earn a spot on the five-man all-tournament team as Poland went 6-3 at the U18 European Championships in Wroclaw, Poland. He had 21 points, eight rebounds and five blocks vs. Slovenia, 17 points and 11 rebounds vs. Croatia and 14 points and 10 rebounds vs. Italy.

Jeff Faraudo

  • Mitchie V

    Wow, that’s a big dude. And he’s got some skills.

    Afraid to hope . . .

  • gobears49

    From the video, he looks like a good shooter but not a leaper. Would have felt better about the video if it had showed him blocking a shot and showing a right hand hook shot.

  • bigdruid

    At 7′ 275 pounds, I’m OK if he never leaves his feet.

  • SteveNTEXAS

    Its nice that Monty is thinking outside the box a bit. Frankly I have no way to assess what being MVP of the FIBA team really translates too.

    The size is nice but then again I had a friend who used to date “Andre the Giant’ and don’t think he would have been a great player.

  • SteveNTEXAS


  • ConcordBear

    This guy will help Cal if he chooses to be a Bear. A ton for him at UC, not just basketball.
    California is the entire package and he can reach his goals at Cal.
    Hope he becomes a Bear!

  • eric

    7 feet 275 pounds who already plays in international competition is definitely worth pursuing. While I think it has been fair to criticize Monty for his recruiting, once the players arrive he does a lot with them.

  • Derek

    He is off to gonzaga 🙁