November 10, 2013

Karczewski goes with Warriors

Kevin McCarthy

Acing your academic challenges, improving your basketball skills and performing as a team member first and foremost isn't a path that automatically leads to a college basketball scholarship but those are the elements that dovetailed with Jerry Karczewski's personal values and traveling that road has paid off handsomely.

photo of Jerry Karczewski

The 5-foot-11 Lakeshow Pump N Run and San Ramon Valley High (SRVH) backcourter is headed next year to Westmont College just outside Santa Barbara, where he and teammate David Gunn will be taking to the court and classroom. It's an NAIA institution and the Warriors are a strong basketball program in the highly competitive Golden State Athletic Conference.

Ask why he went with Westmont, Karczewski said, “it's a good fit [for basketball and academics],” and as an added benefit, “my grandparents live down there.”

The backstory is that Gerry Karczewski, Jerry's father, grew up in the area. In one of those quirks of life, Jerry Karczewski participated in a tournament this summer at Westmont alongside his San Ramon Valley High teammates and the event took place in the same gymnasium the elder Karczewski played in almost 30 years ago. The Wolves made it to the finals and the play of Karczewski, Gunn and their teammates was impressive.

In another summer southern California tournament this year, the Double Pump event, Karczewski led the team in scoring and assists -- there obviously is something in the environment down there that brings out his best.

Both Karczewski's are appreciative of the basketball experiences the younger has enjoyed to date. Jerry said, “the last two years with Coach Brent [Jameson] have been wonderful.” The elder offered this about the Lakeshow squad: “it was eight or nine quality kids you want coming over to your house because in addition to being great basketball players, each of these kids enjoyed and liked each other.”

In an earlier article, Jameson said this about his crew: “They played extremely unselfishly and together, qualities that aren't often associated with summer basketball. This team really came together this year and made huge strides from spring to summer. Individually, each player worked on their game and made drastic improvements over a three month period. As a group, they showed what happens when you play team basketball. They were coachable, unselfish, and disciplined. They played for one another and enjoyed being around each other on and off the court. I had a handful of college coaches tell me that we were their favorite team to watch because the character of our kids shined through on the court.”

Specifically about Karzcewski, Jameson recently offered: “Jerry is the definition of a self-made player. He's one of the most consistently hard-working players I've been around. He's not a big vocal guy, although he's improved in that area, but he sets the tone by always competing. He shoots the ball extremely well, penetrates for himself and others, and is an excellent on-ball defender. His best quality is that he is a true competitor who is willing to make the sacrifices it takes for his team to be successful. Westmont got a good one who should have a great college career.”

Jerry cited a quintet of individuals, call it a starting five if you will, who aided him in getting to where he is today: “definitely my Dad, who coached me since third grade, AAU coach John Kapulica, Lakeshow Coach Brent Jameson, San Ramon High Head Coach John Raynor, and Coach Raynor's assistant and my personal coach, Stefen Tappin.”

Karzcewski is leaning towards majoring in business but that's not yet set in proverbial concrete. He sports an amazing 3.9 grade point average and is impressed that Westmont is a school of just 1,300 undergraduates with a 12/1 teacher-to-student ratio.

As for the fast approaching San Ramon season, Karzcewski, who has played at the varsity level since his sophomore season, said “I really like our team. We care about and enjoy being around each other. We have all been working hard this off-season and I think we have a very good chance of being a very special team.”