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Midseason Grades: Przemek Karnowski is exceeding all expectations

For a player that is coming off of major back surgery one year ago, the Gonzaga senior sure has looked great.

NCAA Basketball: Gonzaga vs Arizona Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

You never want to wish an injury upon any player, but if you had to pick a player to suffer any sort of injury, Przemek Karnowski is probably at the bottom of that list.

But the world doesn’t work like that. The world does as it pleases, and about a year ago, the world decided that Karnowski would have an injury serious enough it would lead to season-ending back surgery. Then the world decided to say that there was a chance that Karnowski wouldn’t play basketball again.

Rolling into this season, it was impossible to give any prediction on how Karnowski would perform. Mark Few was keeping things close to the chest, perhaps a bit too close, because Karnowski has been just like his old self, and a bit more. Considering everything he was facing over a year ago, Karnowski’s success this season is one of the brighter spots in all of college basketball right now.

Karnowski is averaging a career high 12.2 points per game. He has established himself as the premier passing big man in all of NCAA. There isn’t a single center that has the vision when the double team like Karnowski has, and he punishes opponents constantly.

He is grabbing 6.5 rebounds per game, is blocking more shots than his junior year, and is turning the ball over less. Even the free throw percentage at 62.1 percent is at a career high. Karnowski is also doing this all in just a shade over 20 minutes per game. If there was any question as to whether or not he was fully healthy, Karnowski dispelled those myths after beating the entire Washington Huskies lineup down the floor on a fast break.

Meanwhile, Karnowski has posted the highest defensive rating of his career, much of this in part to the better overall defense the Zags have played this season.

If we have to find any specific thing to pick on Karnowski for, we could point to his field goal percentage, which is at a career low. But then again, when you shot 62.2 percent from the floor in your last full season, that standard becomes pretty hard to meet.

Otherwise, Karnowski is having himself a fantastic senior year that will cement his legacy as one of the best overall big men the Zags have ever had. It is fitting that nothing Karno is doing this year necessarily jumps out. He has always been a complete player who takes over games as quietly as possible. Enjoy Karnowski for each and every game we see him over the rest of the season because it will be a while until the Zags snare another player as likable as him.

Grade: A