Twelve short months ago David Przybyszewski was playing club basketball for a team based in Torun, Poland. Little did he know how much his life was about to change.
Today, thanks to a concerted recruiting effort by Tim Jankovich and Kevin Stallings, the 7-foot Przybyszewski is an integral, conspicuous piece of the Vanderbilt basketball program. (The Commodores entertain the University of Houston at 7:00 tonight in the National Invitation Tournament.)
In his freshman year, only his fifth year of playing organized basketball, the Polish import played in all 30 games, started 13, and averaged 17.4 minutes per game. He was the team's sixth leading scorer (5.8 points per game) and fourth-leading rebounder (3.1 per game). Against Hampton, in only his third game as a Commodore, he scored 23 points on 10-of-11 from the floor.
VandyMania sat down and talked with Przybyszewski about his reflections on his freshman season.
VandyMania: What did Coach Stallings say to you after the LSU game?
David: [He said] we've just got to keep our heads up. We played good. We just didn't execute and play defense well. We're very excited about to have a chance to play in the NIT. We just wanted to keep playing.
VM: You've struggled with a couple of nagging injuries throughout this season.
David: After the game against Florida at home, I had a stress reaction in my foot. It keeps bothering me a little bit, but it's OK. I put ice on it after games just to prevent more injury. It's not serious.
VM: You've had so many changes in your life in just a year's time. A year ago, could you have imagined where you would be today?
David: No. (Laugh) I think this has been a fantastic experience. I think I have accommodated to the USA lifestyle very good. The experience here was very good for me. The Vanderbilt University team is very good, very talented. But in perspective, I think we are going to get better every year. We are a very young team. We've just got to go through some ups and downs, and just fight through it. I'm very happy I'm here.
VM: Between now and next year, what are the things that you feel you have to improve on the most to help the team?
David: I know I have to play inside more-- to use my height and length, because I'm seven feet tall-- to use it inside. But also I can shoot the ball from outside. I've just got to work this summer to develop my individual skills good enough to be a good point of this team next season.