The list of seven foot centers the Bears have had in the Monty era has only two names on it, both Braun guys: Jordan Wilkes and Max Zhang. Richard Solomon came close, but for the most part Cal hasn't had a tall trunk to plant in the paint.
This guy could really swing Monty's fortunes in that department. Meet Przemek Karnowski from Bydgoszcz, Poland, a 7-0, 270 pound center.
Karnowski visited Gonzaga last week, then visited Cal a weekend ago before heading back to Poland. Karnowski has started to receive major attention from schools like Duke and Kansas and Marquette, so it's awesome we ended up in his final two. Make no mistake, Gonzaga is the favorite, but the Bears do have a shot, which is more than we had with other talents in this year's class.
Przemek Karnowski ('93) is going to announce his NCAA choice later this week. Will choose between Gonzaga and California.— Rafał Juć (@rafjuc) April 30, 2012
Karnowski becomes that center the Bears desperately need: A skilled, properly sized big man who can hold his own in the post. He's far from a finished product, but he provides the Bears with something they' haven't had lately: A true center inside that can anchor the offense and give Cal someone to work with on the low block. Karnowski would really cause problems for Pac-12 defenses if he could operate properly in Monty's offense.
Moreover, the Bears need a big man. UCLA has loaded their frontcourt with Josh Smith and Tony Parker. Arizona will be throwing Kaleb Tarczewski and Brandon Ashley right at us. I like Kravish a lot, but his body still isn't meant to bang down low and Solomon is still very raw in the post. Karnowski at least gives Cal more options and a suitable front for the Bears to work with, rather than hoping for the Thurmanator to explode onto the scene.
Cal landing Karnowski would be a much-needed get for the 2012 season, and would be a huge get in the long run.
Here's a snippet of a scouting report from Eurohopes.
Overall: Karnowski, compared to young Marc Gasol, despite being top prospect of 1993 European generation, has a plenty room ahead him in many aspects of game. This applies especially to his defense, where big Pole could become more efficient shoot-blocker. Lacking solid athleticism, Karnowski makes it up on defensive end with smartness, but still has to improve his footwork and explosiveness.
Video of Karnowski going against Jonas Valanciunas, a lottery pick for the Toronto Raptors.
Most recent video of Karnowski in action, which you can see in the second half of his tape starting around 3:07.