The Zags frontcourt gets talked a lot about on this site, and on every other site. With good reason as well. Kyle Wiltjer, Domantas Sabonis and Przemek Karnowski are the three faces of this team mashed into one position.
The narrative works as well because all three players bring a different skill set, attitude, and tempo to the game. Wiltjer is the stretch player who makes his opponent hate his day for the 40 minutes each is on the court. Sabonis is the young upstart power forward who speaks on the court in garbled roars of energy and passion. Karnowski is the stalwart, the wise veteran, the Hodor of the group. Karnowski is silent, yet consistent. He is always by your side and ready to throw down at a moment's notice.
Or at least that might have been the Karnowski of yesteryear. There were a lot of reports of Karnowski losing weight over the summer -- both to training and to pneumonia. He definitely looked slimmed down in Okinawa on Friday, although with the humid conditions on the court all of the players looked to be losing 1 percent of their body weight in water per minute.
Karnowski, for his slimmer part, appeared to be moving around a bit more quickly, but also with an energy that we rarely see. This culminated in a block with five and a half minutes left in what would be the game.
On the play, the Zags went for a trap on the other end of the court. Pittsburgh beat the trap, and did what any good team should do--aggressively charge at the hoop. Unfortunately, for the Panthers, Karnowski was lurking underneath the paint and swatted the ball away with authority. The biggest aspect of it was the display of emotion that came afterwards.
That is something we are starting to see more of from Karnowski, and it is a good thing. Karnowski has always been one of those quiet leader types, but that also sometimes translated to a timidness on the floor. That isn't to say he necessarily has to change his personality and become a powderkeg of emotional display like Sabonis, but an excited and emotional Karnowski is a good Karnoswki. We saw it last year against Saint Mary's, we saw it a little bit on Friday, and I hope we see it a bit more this year.