By: Alex Marcheschi
Hello friends *Jim Nantz voice*, in this year’s championship game we have a blast from the past, a true clash of the titans, and I’m not just talking about a battle of #1 seeds. I’m talking about a game that will revolve around the post, a big man showdown of epic proportions, a true heavyweight brick fight: Przemek Karnowski vs Kennedy Meeks.
The last time I can remember getting this excited about a championship post matchup was maybe Anthony Davis v Jeff Withey, but that doesn’t even come close to sniffing this. This is different, Karnowski and Meeks are honestly the two best pound for pound, well rounded, veteran big men with actual post moves in the game. In the Warriors-induced era of basketball, we rarely get to see a big game revolve around the paint like this.
As strange as it is, Karnowski is actually more of a household name than Meeks is, even though Meeks plays on one of the most famous college teams in America. The press loves Karnowski because he’s good, he’s white, he’s a seven footer and he’s an absolute ogre. You just don’t see that anymore. But, here’s what doesn’t get written about much, he’s just a liiittle soft.
Karnowski is a redshirt senior, which is the college basketball equivalent of seeing a shooting star. He’s 23-years-old, half of the NBA is younger than him at this point. Meeks is a regular senior, he’s 22-years-old. That may not seem like that big of a deal, but in college ball that matters a lot. Having one more year of experience than anyone else on the other team is enormous, and he also has about two inches on Meeks.
However, while sheep college basketball analysts will tell you that Karnowski is the superior big man, anybody with eyes for the big peach will tell you that boi Kennedy mf’n Meeks is an unsolvable problem. He is eons tougher than Karnowksi. Nobody in the NCAA boxes out better than him, and he won the game vs Oregon with his board crashing ability. He has amazing touch at the rim and he can pass too. While all of those things are also true about Karnowski, I think it’s clear that Meeks wants it more.
Tonight we will all watch a true unicorn of a game in this era of one-and-done college basketball. Two senior big men with refined post moves hold the keys to this one. After watching Meeks for most of his career, I feel comfortable telling you that he’s been eyeing this Final 4 as his coming out party. We saw him absolutely take over the game vs the Ducks:
As an NBA fan, I like to look at the game as an audition for the big time. DraftExpress has Meeks ranked as the 21st best senior and projected to be the 51st pick in the upcoming draft. They have Karnowski ranked as the 23rd best senior and the projected 60th pick in the draft.
So, NBA people know that Meeks is better, but I think that DraftExpress ranking is way off and here’s why: this dude is a combo of Jason Maxiell, Jared Sullinger and Z Bo. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be an extremely solid NBA role player for a decade at least. Roy Williams has molded him into a peak big man who knows how to use his body perfectly. Give this dude a chance and he’ll make a roster. His footwork is unreal and if an NBA team can teach him to come off of pick and rolls and hit elbow jumpers, he’ll be immensely valuable. People like to think the mid-range jumper died last year, but if you pay attention you can see that those who know how to do it effectively are eating.
I think UNC will win tonight and Meeks will put on a show. He’s been disrespected for his entire career, and this is his chance to bury that punk Karnowski and shoot up the draft boards. Never underestimate what the chance to earn millions of dollars can do to a man.
p.s. – If the NBA doesn’t work out for Kennedy, stay woke on a possible NFL career