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Friday, July 26
Grizzlies grab a long, tall Pole in Trybanski

By Ronald Tillery
Scripps Howard News Service

Say this much about the Memphis Grizzlies' latest acquisition: He's indescribable.

That's because not many people around the NBA have even heard of Cezary Trybanski.

In fact, no one is really sure what the 7-foot-1, 254-pound center can do against NBA competition. But Griz president of basketball operations Jerry West saw enough in Trybanski to sign the 22-year-old Polish player Monday to a three-year, $4.8 million contract.

Trybanski debuted with the Grizzlies Wednesday in their fourth game of the Rocky Mountain Revue Summer League in Salt Lake City.

"We feel fortunate to have Cezary join our team, because he has a tremendous amount of raw talent and has the potential to be a very good player in the NBA," West said in a statement. "He is athletic, skilled and explosive for his size; and we expect him to develop into a great addition to our team at the post position."

Although a concern is the weak level of competition Trybanski's faced, he is said to be as skilled as Sacramento center Vlade Divac.

Trybanski played the past three seasons as a backup center for MKS Pruszkow in Poland. He averaged 6.0 points and 3.7 rebounds in 15.1 minutes and shot 52 percent from the field last season, according to the Grizzlies.

The team's lack of size last season could make Trybanski a candidate to start at center when training begins in October.

"I'm very happy and excited to sign a contract with the Grizzlies and to start working towards achieving my dream to be the first player from Poland to play in the NBA," Trybanski said. "The Grizzlies are a young, up-and-coming team with a lot of talent and players my age, which is a great situation for me to learn the NBA game.

"Hopefully, I can become an inspiration for others in Poland and help grow the game in my home country."

Trybanski began his professional career in 1999 with Hoop Pruszkow II, a lower division team in Poland, and joined MKS Pruzskow in 2000.

"Poland isn't a highly scouted league, but there was considerable interest in Cezary," said Trybanski's agent, Mark Termini, who also represents Griz forward Pau Gasol. "We just felt the Grizzlies presented the best situation with the direction they're going. Jerry was very persistent and enthusiastic in his pursuit."

Ronald Tillery writes for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tenn.

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