7-foot Polish center Przemek Karnowski has narrowed his list down to Gonzaga, California, Duke, and Kansas. Karnowski has drawn rave reviews from college scouts across the country, often being compared to the Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol. Basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla has said that Karnowski has some of the softest hands of any big man he’s ever seen, and Karnowski is on the wish list of many college programs. So how does he fit in at Duke?
Duke currently has a plethora of big men, as seniors Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly will be expected to start in the frontcourt while being backed up by freshman Marshall Plumlee and Alex Murphy. I can envision Karnowski coming to Duke if he believes that he needs one more year to develop before feeling comfortable competing at the college level. If he were to redshirt, he would be eligible to play after Mason Plumlee and Kelly have graduated, putting him in a three-man rotation with Marshall Plumlee and Murphy.
Karnowski could use his redshirt year to bulk up and improve his conditioning, two key aspects of his game that scouts believe that he needs to improve. His body fat was recently measured at 16.3%, and he has been chided in the past for lacking toughness and muscle to battle for rebounds in the paint. By using his redshirt year to fill out his frame and play 25-30 minutes per game, he could easily be starting for the Blue Devils at the center position starting in 2013.
One of Karnowski’s biggest strengths is his ability to shoot, and his shooting range extends out to the three-point line. Following Kelly’s graduation, Karnowski would be able to fill his role as a big man who possesses the ability to stretch the defense, which in turn would open up more driving lanes for slashers and provide more open looks for three-point shooters. Additionally, due to his size, Karnowski also feels comfortable working from the low post, but needs to develop scoring moves going to his right (non-dominant) hand in order to further complete his game.
Karnowski would be an invaluable addition for Duke, especially on the offensive side of the ball. Gonzaga is currently viewed as the favorite to land the Polish center, but I think that landing him would really put Duke in great position to not only have a big man to anchor their defense, but also have a multi-faceted offensive weapon.