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An interview with Pawel Buczak.

You may not remember five years down the line, but Pawel Buczak's addition to the Princeton basketball team was close to an afterthought.

The seventh and final member of Joe Scott's 2006 recruiting class - which included the more heralded Zach Finley, Lincoln Gunn, "preferred walk on" Nick Lake, Chris Petrie, Marcus Schroeder and fellow South Jersey resident Blake Wilson - Buczak put in the time and the hard work to rise the depth chart from seeing the floor briefly in only five games his freshman year to an Honorable Mention All-Ivy player come his junior year.

As a senior he started all 31 contests for a 22 win Tiger squad.

While employed as a Investment Risk Analyst since graduation, Buczak never stopped working on basketball. Like it did his junior year, his hard work had a payoff. A week ago the Krakow-born Buczak joined up with Polish second division team Slask Wroclaw for the 2011-12 season.

Buczak and I exchanged emails yesterday as the former Princeton center scrambled to tie up several loose ends before starting his new career as a basketball player. I sent a list of questions over and he answered a handful in return. Our conversation folows after the jump.

How did this opportunity come about? Was this something you had been actively pursuing? While working in the business sector the last year, were you trying to stay in "game shape" hoping for a chance like this?

I had considered trying to play basketball professionally during my senior of college, but I had a good job offer in the early spring and I had to decide whether to take it not knowing what kind of opportunity basketball would provide since basketball contracts are usually signed in the late summer months. I decided to take the job. However, as October and November rolled around, I felt the excitement associated with the preseason except I realized that no season was coming.

I began to play a lot anyway because I missed playing. I played four, five, sometimes six times a week in good leagues and pickup games where former college and professional players played. I continued playing well in the early part of the summer and many guys assumed I played overseas. Once this happened enough times, a couple of friends convinced me to at least see what kind of offer I could get. I got in contact with an agent and I started getting in really good shape. It was then a question of whether to take an offer. I thought about this for about a month and a half since I would have to leave a good job where I liked the people and the work is decently interesting (which is saying a lot for finance).

In the end, I decided that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that I couldn't pass up.

How much did being born in Poland help with this signing? Do you have dual citizenship? Is there a limit on foreign players in this league?

Being a Polish citizen helped tremendously. There are limits on the number of non-Europeans as well as non-Polish players, so being a dual citizen is a huge plus.

What do you know about your new team and your role with them? My research tells me they used to be a Polish power.

I do not know all that much. They used to be one of the best teams in Poland but lost their sponsor during the crisis. They now apparently have a new sponsor and are looking to regain that glory from the past. I know that with this new sponsorship they literally "bought" a spot in the first league, although I don't really understand how that works.

As for my role, I think I am somewhat of an unknown quantity and will have an opportunity to prove what I can do. I have worked a lot on playing forward and I think that is how I will be utilized, but we shall see.

I spotted you in the Princeton student section for the Ivy playoff in March and you were part of the throng that spontaneously spilled out onto the floor when Douglas Davis’ shot went in. Can you just describe the emotions of that game and that moment?

The Ivy playoff was probably the most amazing athletic event I have ever seen. I was and am really proud of all the guys, particularly the seniors who had persevered through the tough times early in their careers and completed the turnaround in great style. The emotions of that win and the manner that it came in were overpowering.

Rushing the court when Doug hit his up-and-under wasn't a conscious decision, although trying to keep the hero from being trampled once we realized what was happening was. That moment is something I will never forget and I am really proud of all the players and coaches.

When do you head to Poland and what’s your schedule like once you get there?

I leave for Poland next Wednesday and will head to training camp once I get there.

Best of luck, Pawel. Congratulations again on the opportunity.

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