Gonzaga big man Przemek Karnowski has looked up to Wizards' center Marcin Gortat for years. They played together on the Polish national team and were roommates. For the last four years Karnowski has helped out at Gortat's basketball camp in Poland.
Now Karnowski, 23, is trying to join his mentor and friend in the NBA. Karnowski worked out for the Wizards on Tuesday. It was his first workout because he got sick and had to cancel others that were planned.
That's not the way he would draw it up, however, it did allow Karnowski to begin this process with Gortat's team.
"Me and Marcin have a really good relationship, especially from Poland and the Polish national team," Karnowski said. "I actually saw him about a week and a half ago when I was working out in L.A. We went for dinner. He's like my older brother that I never had. I was just really happy to see him."
Karnowski starred for Gonzaga this season as the Bulldogs went all the way to the NCAA Tournament final. He averaged 12.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game in his senior season.
While working out for the Wizards, Karnowski played in 3-on-3 games where he was often matched up with Kansas center Landen Lucas. Karnowski hopes NBA coaches can see, what he feels, are pro-ready skills.
"I think my game translates well, especially in 5-on-5 with my passing ability. I really like to do that to help my teammates and make them open. That was something I had an opportunity to show in college. Just having a big body, I feel like I'm ready to go and bang with big guys down low," he said.
If Karnowski were to join the Wizards, it would likely be as a summer league invite or undrafted free agent. He is not projected to be picked by most mock drafts at this point.
Gortat was a second round pick of the Phoenix Suns in 2005 and has since enjoyed a successful 10-year NBA career. Karnowski would love to follow in his footsteps.
"He's a great figure and has a lot of respect back home," Karnowski said. "He's a huge person. You guys know him here from basketball, but he does a lot more. He goes back every single year. He's doing basketball camps for kids. I think this is going to be the 10th edition of his camp back home."
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