Przemek Karnowski wasn’t totally sure what to expect when he came to the United State to play basketball. Three years later, he’s one of the best big men in the country playing for a national title contender. Saturday night he dropped a career-high 24 points on San Francisco in the quarterfinals of the WCC tournament as Gonzaga (30-2) dispatched the Dons, 81-72. Before meeting Pepperdine on Monday in the semis, Karnowski joined SI.com for the Sunday Sit Down.
SI.com: Eight seconds left, game on the line—which current college basketball player do you want taking the big shot? You can’t pick a teammate.
Who do you want defending the big shot? You also can’t pick a teammate.
Why is your team better than people think?
We love each other on and off the court. It’s all about sticking together, playing through our mistakes and getting wins. I’ve been here three years and it’s so fun. We’re all about winning, and I think right now we’re on a good path toward achieving something special.
What one weird or thing do you keep in your backpack or basketball bag?
I always have a highlighter, just in case I have homework. That’s not funny, just weird.
And kinda nerdy, if we’re being honest ... Who’s your favorite follow on Twitter?
Can I say my teammates for this one?
Finally. My roommate and walk-on Rem Bakamus, he’s hilarious. Sometimes he wants to tweet stuff and I tell him it’s a little too funny, that he needs to pace himself. He can put all the funny stuff up after we graduate.
Who’s your celebrity crush?
What’s the best dunk you’ve done or seen live?
A couple days ago, Angel Nunez dunked a 360 windmill like Vince Carter did in the 2000 dunk contest. I thought that was pretty cool.
Favorite March Madness memory?
Last year, our first game against Oklahoma State, many people didn’t give us a shot or a chance and then at the end, we’re just laying on the floor, because we found a way to get a win.
You’re an NBA GM with the first pick in the 2015 draft—who are you taking and why?
Can I choose myself? I’m just kidding! Kevin Pangos, because I know what he can do and what he’s capable of. I know what kind of leader he is, how he can put a team on his back. I trust him 150%. We are roommates, too, so that’s helping his case.
In their primes, are you taking LeBron or Kobe?
That’s a tough one. Growing up in Poland the NBA was on at 2 or 3 a.m. I’ll have to go with LeBron, because I grew up watching him. I was 12 or 13 when I really started to follow him.
What’s the dumbest mistake you’ve ever made on a basketball court?
O.K. so in Europe, a player cannot take a timeout during a game, only a coach. I was playing with my national team and I dove on the floor during a summer game, I got the ball and screamed for timeout but the ref was just looking at me. He didn’t do anything, just called a five second violation while I was lying there. It didn’t really work like I planned.
What is Coach Few’s favorite phrase or saying to yell in practice?
(Laughs hard) There are some really funny ones, but I don’t know if I can use them. I’m trying to think of something funny that’s not an inside joke. He always tells us to take pride in GU during games. All the time he says, “Be the standard.”
Which venue do you most want to play in?
Well the one I wanted to play in the most was Madison Square Garden but I played there in November (in the preseason NIT) so I’d say the Staples Center, when we advance to the Sweet 16. Because hopefully we’ll be in the West region.
Who on your team would make the best coach someday and why?
Kevin Pangos. His leadership, the way he carries himself, he’s on another level. He wants to be a coach or a strength and conditioning coach, and that will be perfect for him.
Which teammate would you sing a karaoke duet with, and what’s your song of choice?
Uptown Funk with Rem Bakamus.