Basketball, in its purest form, is an amalgamation of the world’s premiere athletes soaring through the air as they complete acrobatic feats that are simply unattainable by mere mortals. The history books will always favor the Michael Jordans, the LeBrons, the Magic Johnsons of the world who use their athletic gifts to put together the pieces of basketball’s puzzle.
While those greats are amazing in their own right, it’s those that are void of those athletic gifts that we hold most dear. The players that are content with an Earth-bound skillset, those that are sturdier in stature, the giants among us all. Those are our true heroes.
In college basketball, there are players that have carved out special places in our hearts that seem to defy the physics of the game en route to success. These are our burly boys. These are our Large Adult Sons.
In the annals of sports fandom, it’s unclear when the Large Adult Son first burst onto the scene. Was it Babe Ruth and his home-run hitting prowess? Maybe it was Shaq, a figure so large that he bruised his way into the record books. The origin of the Large Adult Son is unknown, but it’s become an integral part of our Online appreciation of sports.
Now, what qualifies someone as a Large Adult Son? Good question. The answer to that question is that there is no answer. There is no physical quality that defines a Large Adult Son. Large Adult Sons are not bound to the limitations of one man’s opinion.
Burly is in the eye of the beholder.
It’s important to remember that not everyone fits the mold of a Large Adult Son. LeBron James, as large as he may seem to you or I, is not a Large Adult Son. He is a phsyical marvel, an athlete that was seemingly forged in a lab to unleash terror on his opponents. No, the Large Adult Sons are those who might not fit the traditional physique of the games best.
Burly is better.
The Large Adult Sons are those who might be a few pounds over their desired weight. Maybe they’re a little doughy. Maybe their limbs don’t quite match the proportions of the rest of their body. Being a Large Adult Son is by no means a bad thing. There is no body shaming in the classification of Large Adult Sons. It is not a derogatory term, but rather one of endearment.
Burly is beautiful.
Let’s take some time to remember some Large Adult Sons: Luke Harangody, Matt Stainbrook, Kevin Pittsnogle, Dexter Pittman, Devonte Gardner, Yancy Gates, Isaac Haas, Nick Duncan, Kennedy Meeks, Tom Pritchard. The list goes on and on. We all have our idols. They call come in different shapes and sizes, and that’s okay.
But there’s one Large Adult Son in particular that holds a special place in our hearts. A folk hero unlike any other, and a beacon of success for the game’s gentle giants. His grace in the paint and his velvet touch defy the logic of his stature. He is, by all accounts, the embodiment of a Large Adult Son.
That Large Adult Son is Przemek Karnowski.
By now, you surely know the enigma that is Przemek Karnowski. As a 7-1, nearly 300-pound forward for Gonzaga, he earned his way into the hearts of many by finding ways to dominate despite his gargantuan frame. He was a connoisseur of baby hooks, and a distributor of dimes from the high post. His size did not hinder him, it merely enabled him.
He helped lead Gonzaga to a National Championship game appearance, and graduated as one of college basketball’s most successful winners. His statistics weren’t gaudy, and he didn’t have to carve out extra space in his home for all the accolades and awards he won. No, Przemek Karnowski just happened to be a pretty good college basketball player that was extremely lovable. That’s why we’re naming this award after him.
You see, there’s a bevy of awards that are given out every year in college basketball: Freshman of the Year, Player of the Year, position specific awards, etc. These often times go to the fleet of foot, the aerial aces, and those that show unmatched perimeter prowess. That’s why we’re here to honor the game’s gifted big men.
That’s why we’ve created the inaugural Karnowski Award, given to college basketball’s burliest boy.
Here is your preseason watchlist for college basketball’s best Large Adult Son.
Mike Daum - South Dakota State
Daum is one of the nation’s best forwards, plain and simple. He draws a ton of fouls, can score on the block and stretch the floor beyond the arc. Daum should be among the players in college basketball that qualify as appointment viewing. He has a chance to be the nation’s leading scorer, and could even make a run at being an All-American.
Jock Landale - Saint Mary’s
Speaking of All-American bigs, Saint Mary’s has one of their own in Jock Landale. The Aussie is at the center of one of the nation’s most efficient offense, and is a double-double threat each and every night. The Gaels seemed poised to take the WCC crown from Gonzaga this year, and could even find themselves making a deep run in March. In order for that to happen, Landale will have to have a huge year.
Rokas Gustys - Hofstra
Save for Angel Delgado, Rokas Gustys is the best rebounder in college basketball. With back-to-back seasons averaging at least 12 rebounds per game, it shouldn’t be a surprise if Gustys hits that mark once again. His relentless pursuit on the glass is going to make him a thorn in the side of CAA big men once again.
Albert Owens - Oral Roberts
With a new coach that emphasizes post play, this lefty bruiser will be the focal point of the Oral Roberts offense once again. Owens averaged over 17 points per game last year, and bumped that mark up to 20 points per game in conference play. He’s a tough cover on the low block, and Paul Mills will need every bit of his scoring this season.
Norbertas Giga - Jacksonville State
The Karnoswki Award loves to have a little international flavor, and Giga put up a strong freshman season after coming over from Lithuania. He had solid averages of 11 points and eight rebounds per game, but he stole our hearts in the NCAA Tournament. In the first round against Louisville, Giga put up 30 points and nine boards on Louisville’s talented front line. Look for a big sophomore campaign from him.
Bryce Washington - Louisiana Lafayette
Washington, by all accounts, is a double-double machine. Last year, he averaged 13 & 11, and had a double-double in 21 games. He should give Rokas Gustys and Angel Delgado a run for their money for the rebounding crown. His numbers have gotten progressively better each year, and a monster senior year could be coming.
Drew McDonald - Northern Kentucky
The Norse were one of the best stories of March last year, thanks in large part to Drew McDonald. The sophomore averaged just over 16 points and seven rebounds per game, and was huge in the conference tournament. With Northern Kentucky looking like Horizon League contenders again, McDonald will get another chance to shine when the lights get bright.
Roselle Nix - South Alabama
Nix looks more like a offensive tackle than a basketball player, so maybe he should head north to play for Nick Saban. Nonetheless, the grad transfer from Pitt should provide some much needed size for a roster that didn’t have anyone taller than 6’8”. His numbers at Pitt were a non-factor, but Nix should have a chance to have an impact in the Sun Belt thanks to his sheer size.
Dwight Coleby - Western Kentucky
Lost in the chaos of the Western Kentucky offseason, the addition of Dwight Coleby went largely unnoticed. The Kansas transfer was never really able to get out of Bill Self’s doghouse, but showed some flashes in limited opportunities before that Ole Miss. With Power 5 talent, Coleby will have a chance to come in right away and contribute for Rick Stansbury & Co.
Brandon McCoy - UNLV
As a McDonald’s All-American and potential lottery pick, McCoy has the tools to dominate at the mid-major level. An athletic 7-footer seems a little out of place among the rest of our candidates, but McCoy has the potential to be imposing in the Mountain West. Marvin Menzies needs him to live up to the hype to keep UNLV moving in the right direction.