In case you missed it, Przemek Karnowski is coming back next season, and Gonzaga nation is quite happy.
But Karnowski's return also brings about a few questions as well. Mainly, how is coach Mark Few going to manage all of these big guys?
The issue is right now, it is pretty much impossible to figure out how he will manage. What was going to become of Karnowski this offseason was always a question with a lot of layers.
The first layer involved whether or not Karnowski would return in the first place. We have satisfied that answer, and now we can turn our attention to the next question. That one, specifically, is whether or not Karnowski will be able to contribute next season at the level we all hope.
No one, possibly not even Karnowski at the moment, knows what the answer to that. By the time the season starts, Karnowski will be 10 months from a major back surgery that left him hardly able to walk for a majority of the season.
But, assuming things are just gravy (or the Polish equivalent of gravy) for the Great Wall of Karno, the next question is who do you redshirt?
As it stands, the Zags have six players to throw into essentially two positions. Karnowski and Ryan Edwards return from last year, and they will be accompanied by transfer Johnathan Williams and recruits Zach Collins, Killian Tillie and Jacob Larsen.
Realisitically, someone in that group is going to have to sit aside. Karnowski obviously won't, Edwards and Williams have already worn the red shirt. The hype around Zach Collins is too real and he seems to be the most impressive of the three, so his spot is safe. That means either Tillie or Larsen will most likely spend their freshman year sitting on the bench in good looking suits.
The idea of going with the three big man lineup can probably be put to rest before the chatter even starts. We saw Few try and employ that for a few minutes in whatever that thing was in Japan last year against Pittsburgh, and frankly, it didn't look that great.
So, someone is going to have to fall on that sword, and it will be interesting to see who the coaching staff thinks should sit. Both Larsen and Tillie have spent a healthy amount of the past year not playing basketball and dealing with nagging injuries. The word on the Internet suggests that Tillie is the better player, but we all know that scouting and words written on the Internet only mean so much.
But of course, all of this only is a question depending on how Karnowski looks by the time the season starts. Remember, back in February, doctors said he couldn't start jumping until June. There is no doubt that Karnowski is a hard worker and there is no doubt that Gonzaga has a great training staff. But sometimes the human body fails us, or doesn't heal as quickly as we want.
Let's say Karnowski isn't ready to go at the beginning of the year, but will be by January. Collins sounds like he is good to go, but he is also a freshmen that will be dealing with a learning curve. Edwards hasn't demonstrated yet that he is capable of producing 20 quality minutes of basketball. The next question, will the Zags have the luxury to redshirt someone, or will they need all hands on deck?
All of these questions and the many more that will inevitably show up will be slowly answered over the next few months. Karnowski's recovery was always going to be a story to track this offseason. It will also be important to watch because of the implications for next season.