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Gonzaga Basketball

Surprise visit to Poland a big hit with Karnowski and friends

Thu., Dec. 27, 2012, midnight

After Gonzaga’s easy win over Campbell last Wednesday, Przemek Karnowski told several members of the media he was heading home for the holiday break but he asked for a favor.

“It’s a surprise,” said the Polish center, who didn’t want his plans mentioned in the newspaper.

Karnowski’s parents knew their son was coming home, but many of Karnowski’s friends and extended family were pleasantly surprised when he arrived in Torun. It took him 20-22 travel hours each way but it was worth every second, even though most airplane seats aren’t the most comfortable for the 7-foot-1, 285-pound Karnowski.

“On two of the long flights I had exit-row seat,” said Karnowski, who flew from Spokane to Seattle to Amsterdam to Warsaw. Torun is located about 120 miles northwest of Warsaw.

Karnowski put in 90 minutes each day at the gym, working on his shooting and conditioning. He was back in Spokane for practice Tuesday night.

“I have a lot of close friends at home and I spent the first afternoon with them and I spent two days with my family,” Karnowski said. “I tell them how I’m doing and (find out) how they’re doing. I was happy to get home.”

Karnowski’s mother and grandmother prepared a holiday meal of fish and three different soups. Karnowski received several nice gifts but the best one didn’t come inside wrapping paper.

“The best present was that I could spend time with my family,” he said.

Boxed out

Karnowski had the longest trip home, but every Gonzaga player was able to spend time with family over the holiday break. Kelly Olynyk returned to Kamloops, B.C., while Kevin Pangos was in Newmarket, Ontario.

“We got recharged a bit and everyone got to see their families, but I think everyone was excited to be back,” Olynyk said. “We were only gone four days and everyone was excited to see each other again.”

Dec. 26th is Boxing Day in Canada, a day for bargain-hunting shoppers.

“It’s like Black Friday here (the day after Thanksgiving),” Pangos said. “Everything is on sale in the malls. I’m missing it, kind of disappointed. The malls are packed. I never really knew what I wanted for Christmas so sometimes my parents would give me money and I’d go on Boxing Day and get clothes or whatever was on sale.”


Junior guard David Stockton (illness) wasn’t at Tuesday’s practice. Gerard Coleman, who is required to sit out this season after transferring from Providence, spent the holidays in his hometown of Boston and will return in January. … The 13th-ranked Bulldogs entertain Baylor on Friday before embarking on a three-game road trip, beginning with No. 22 Oklahoma State on New Year’s Eve. The Bears (8-3) defeated BYU 79-64 on Friday in their most recent game. “It’s really important to get off to a good start in the second half, especially coming off Christmas,” Olynyk said. “Getting a win would kind of carry us through and get us that confidence you need. You don’t want to drop one at the start because then you’re trying to climb back into the mix.”

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