Przemek Karnowski

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Przemek Karnowski
EuroBasket 2017 Finland vs Poland 09 (Karnowski cropped).jpg
Karnowski during EuroBasket 2017
Twarde Pierniki Toruń
LeaguePolish League
Personal information
Born (1993-11-08) November 8, 1993 (age 26)
Bydgoszcz, Poland
Listed height7 ft 1 in (2.16 m)
Listed weight300 lb (136 kg)
Career information
CollegeGonzaga (2012–2017)
NBA draft2017 / Undrafted
Playing career2009–present
Career history
2009–2010Twarde Pierniki Toruń
2011–2012Siarka Tarnobrzeg
2018–presentTwarde Pierniki Toruń
Career highlights and awards

Przemysław Marcin "Przemek" Karnowski (Polish pronunciation: [ˈpʂɛmɛk karˈnɔfskʲi]; born 8 November 1993) is a Polish basketball player for Twarde Pierniki Toruń of the Polish Basketball League. He completed his college career at Gonzaga University in the United States in 2017. He has also played for the Polish national team. He had been viewed by some NBA draft analysts as a potential first round pick in the 2016 draft, but chose to return to Gonzaga for his final season of college eligibility in 2016–17.[1]

College career[edit]

Przemek narrowed his decision down to California and Gonzaga. He committed to Gonzaga on May 29, 2012.[2] For his freshman season he was behind star Canadian center Kelly Olynyk, a future lottery pick in the 2013 NBA draft. In the 2013-14 season Karnowski averaged 10.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game as the Bulldogs' starting center.[3] As a junior, he averaged 11 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1 block per game.[3] Due to back problems, Karnowski had surgery after playing only five games in his senior season. He was averaging 8.8 points and 5.4 rebounds in those five games.[4]

The surgery followed a prolonged episode of back pain so severe that by the time of the operation, it took him over an hour to get out of bed and perform normal morning activities; he was also unable to walk without crutches. He developed an infection after undergoing the surgery and lost roughly 60 pounds (27 kg). Karnowski's recovery proceeded ahead of schedule; while he was told he would be unable to perform any strenuous activities for 10 months post-operation, he was running after 7 months. For the rest of his Gonzaga career, the team's training staff placed him on a customized conditioning program to protect his back, and he did not participate in any basketball-related activity outside of games and scheduled practices.[5]

On May 24, 2016, Gonzaga announced that Karnowski had received a medical redshirt and would return to the school for one final college season in 2016–17.[1] In his final season with Gonzaga he led Gonzaga to the best start in the history of the organization (29-0) whilst posting the best offensive and defensive numbers of his career: 12.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.9 block in just 22.5 minutes per game coming to the tournament. On February 2, 2017 Karnowski became the career leader in wins for Gonzaga, passing Kevin Pangos and Kyle Dranginis (both 122 wins).[6] Following the game with BYU, Karnowski became the active leader in Division I basketball games played with 143, passing Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin), Nate Britt and Isaiah Hicks (both North Carolina).[7] Karnowski would be surpassed later that season by Hayes and Duke's Amile Jefferson, and passed both in a win in Gonzaga's Final Four matchup with South Carolina. After the 2017 West Coast Conference Men's Basketball Tournament, Karnowski became the NCAA's career leader in wins with 132, passing Shane Battier (131).[8] During his senior season he was nominated to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award[9] and Senior CLASS Award.[10]

Karnowski graduated with Bachelor of Education in Sport Management and MBA with one of the highest GPAs in WCC, for which he was named to the 2016-17 WCC Men's Basketball All-Academic Team.[11] With 13 points performance and two crucial baskets he led his team to a 77-73 victory in the NCAA tournament semifinal, giving the Gonzaga Bulldogs their first ever appearance in the NCAA March Madness Final.

During his tenure with Gonzaga Bulldogs he became a fan favorite not only because his skills, but also because of his outgoing and friendly attitude as well as his signature beard. Some fans even wear fake beards during games to impersonate Karnowski. His name is found difficult to spell for basketball fans from the USA, thus he was given fancy nicknames like "Shem" (short for "Przemysław"), "Big Shem," or "Mount Karnowski" (in reference to his size).

His performances are also widely recognized in his country, Poland. Tens of thousands of Polish fans watched his March Madness surge overnight, because of the time difference.

College statistics[edit]

2012–13 Gonzaga 34 1 10.8 .567 .444 2.7 0.2 0.2 0.3 5.4
2013–14 Gonzaga 36 36 25.3 .593 .000 .500 7.0 0.7 0.3 1.7 10.4
2014–15 Gonzaga 38 37 24.5 .622 1.000 .509 5.8 1.3 0.5 1.0 11.0
2015–16 Gonzaga 5 5 24.8 .594 .462 5.4 1.2 0.8 0.6 8.8
2016–17 Gonzaga 39 39 22.9 .601 .000 .582 5.8 2.1 0.4 1.0 12.2
Career 152 118 21.2 .600 .333 .513 5.4 1.1 0.4 1.0 9.8

Professional career[edit]

Karnowski warming up in 2012

In the 2011–12 season, Karnowski played for Siarka Jezioro Tarnobrzeg of the Polish PLK. In 35 games, he averaged 10.1 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game.[12] After the regular season, Karnowski won the PLK Rookie of the Year Award.[13]

He went undrafted in the 2017 NBA draft, but joined the Charlotte Hornets for the 2017 NBA Summer League.[14]

On July 28, 2017, Karnowski agreed to terms with Spanish Liga ACB team MoraBanc Andorra.[15] On July 8, 2018, Karnowski part ways with MoraBanc Andorra.[16] On August 16, 2018, he signed with Twarde Pierniki Toruń of the Polish Basketball League.[17]

Professional career statistics[edit]

2009–10 Pierniki Torun 14 0 21.4 .560 .000 .612 9.1 1.2 .9 2.5 12.2
2010–11 SMS Wladyslawowo 23 0 31.0 .517 .250 .547 9.6 1.3 1.1 2.1 14.0
2011–12 ASK KS Siarka Tarnobrzeg 35 18 25.6 .520 .067 .560 4.4 1.3 0.7 1.2 10.1

International career[edit]

Karnowski with Poland in August 2014

Karnowski guided the Polish junior national team to the championship game of the 2010 FIBA Under-17 World Championship, in Hamburg. He was named to the All-Tournament Team.[18] and was named Best Center of the tournament by[19] after averaging 14.5 points, 11 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.0 blocked shots per contest.[20] Joining him on the official All-Tournament Team was Canada's Kevin Pangos who would later be his teammate at Gonzaga.

Karnowski represented the senior Polish national basketball team at EuroBasket 2013, in Slovenia. He averaged 3.3 PPG, 2.5 RPG, and 0.3 APG.[21]


  1. ^ a b "Karnowski Decides to Return for 2016-17 season" (Press release). Gonzaga Athletics. May 24, 2016. Archived from the original on May 29, 2016. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  2. ^ Hassanstab, Kellon (May 29, 2012). "Top European center Przemek Karnowski commits to Gonzaga". Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  3. ^ a b [1] at
  4. ^ Goodman, Jeff (December 31, 2015). "Gonzaga's Przemek Karnowski needs back surgery, out for season". ESPN. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  5. ^ Medcalf, Myron (February 24, 2017). "Przemek Karnowski's long road back to Gonzaga". Retrieved February 24, 2017.
  6. ^ "2016-2017 Gonzaga Men's Basketball Record Book" (PDF). Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  7. ^ "NCAA Statistics". Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  8. ^ "Upon further review, Przemek Karnowski tops NCAA wins list". Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  9. ^ Woodburn, Peter (2017-02-03). "Przemek Karnowski named finalist for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award". The Slipper Still Fits. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  10. ^ "Men's Basketball | Senior CLASS Award". Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  11. ^ Ybanez, Keith (2017-02-22). "Three Zags named to WCC All-Academic Team". The Slipper Still Fits. Retrieved 2017-03-01.
  12. ^ [2]
  13. ^ [3]
  14. ^ "2017-18 NBA Undrafted Free Agent List: Summer League rosters". CSN Mid-Atlantic. 2017-06-23. Retrieved 2017-07-01.
  15. ^ "ACB.COM - Przemek Karnowski, contundencia en la zona del MoraBanc Andorra". (in Spanish). 28 July 2017. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  16. ^ "ACB.COM - Przemek Karnowski no seguirá en el MoraBanc Andorra". (in Spanish). 8 July 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  17. ^ "Przemek Karnowski signs with Polski Cukier Torun". Sportando. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  18. ^ "GER - Pangos, Ponitka, Beal, Mc Adoo and Karnowski named All-Tournament Five". FIBA.COM. Archived from the original on 2016-08-02. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
  19. ^ "World Championships U17 Basketball, Teams, Scores, Stats, News, Standings -". Retrieved 2016-02-07.
  20. ^ "Przemyslaw Marcin Karnowski profile, FIBA U17 World Championship for Men 2010 | FIBA.COM". FIBA.COM. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
  21. ^ "Przemek Karnowski Bio". Archived from the original on August 8, 2014. Retrieved August 4, 2014.

External links[edit]