With the uncertainty of whether they will have their all-league center back next season, the Aggies have signed a junior college big man.
Utah State made the announcement Friday morning. The tall prospect had been seen around campus recently and speculation was the Aggie men’s basketball team was his top choice.
Jakub “Kuba” Karwowski made it official by signing with USU. The 7-foot-2, 230-pound center comes to Logan from North Platte (Nebraska) Community College. The native of Warsaw, Poland, will have two years of eligibility for the Aggies.
“We are thrilled to have Kuba joining the Aggie family,” USU head coach Craig Smith said in a press release. “Kuba has great size and athleticism at a legitimate 7-2. He works very hard, has very good feel for the game and has a true passion for the game. He fits the culture of our program and will excel at Utah State.”
With Mountain West Defensive Player and Freshman of the Year Neemias Queta declaring for the NBA Draft, the Aggies were in limbo at the center position. Queta can still return to USU, but earlier this week was one of 66 players invited to the NBA Combine in Chicago, making it seem like if things go well there, he will stay in the draft.
Should Queta not return — he has until May 29 to decide to pull out — the Aggies have 6-10 Klay Stall, who was injured all of last season and a good chunk of the 2017-18 campaign.
Smith has said the Aggies were looking for the best possible athletes available, but did mention with the status of Queta uncertain, another big man would be insurance.
Enter Karwowski, who appeared in 55 games at North Platte Community College, starting 42 over the last two years.
As a freshman, Karwowski scored in double figures in 12 games, including a season-high 20 points against Northwest Kansas Tech, while also adding a season-high 13 rebounds. The double-double was one of six he had during his inaugural year.
Karwowski was also a force defensively, logging a team-best 53 blocks and recording multiple blocks in 14 games, including a season-high eight against McCook. As a freshman, he averaged 8.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game.
During the 2018-19 season, Karwowski led the Knights to a 24-5 record and to a Region IX South Division title, averaging a near-double-double of 9.7 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. He scored in double figures in 15 games, including a career-high 21 points against Eastern Wyoming. Karwowski used a career-high 22 rebound effort against Southeast to tally one of seven double-doubles during the year.
For a second straight season, he paced the Knights in blocks with 66, including a season-high six against McCook.
Karwowski was third in the NJCAA last year, shooting 70.6 percent from the floor. He made 3 of 7 shots from 3-point range. He earned first-team all-Region IX honors following his sophomore campaign.