Gonzaga’s Zags bag Minneapolis middle Chet Holmgren, the No. 1 prize in 2021 recruiting class


Gonzaga is again on a profitable streak.

Its loss to Baylor within the 2021 March Insanity championship sport all the time will rank as a disappointment for the Bulldogs, who gained their first 31 video games of the 2020-21 season however fell to the extra highly effective Bears within the April 5 ultimate. A number of the disappointment was eased Monday afternoon with the announcement by middle Chet Holmgren relating to his school alternative for 2021-22.

“Subsequent fall, I can be a Gonzaga Bulldog,” Holmgren advised ESPN “SportsCenter.”  

Touchdown Holmgren, the No. 1 prospect within the 2021 recruiting class, might carry the Zags again towards the summit in 2022. Holmgren introduced his alternative of Gonzaga over Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Georgetown, Ohio State and Memphis on Monday afternoon throughout “SportsCenter.” Minnehaha Academy, the place Holmgren performed, despatched All-American Jalen Suggs to the Zags final 12 months.

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Holmgren’s choice shocked few. At 247 Sports activities, 5 recruiting specialists all predicted he would select Gonzaga. It is the newest step in Gonzaga’s ascent from modest mid-major to mid-major energy to nationwide powerhouse, all achieved inside the previous 25 years. The Zags have appeared in two of the previous 4 NCAA championship video games and misplaced each, which means the one ultimate step is to complete as nationwide champion.

When Sporting Information offered its “way-too-early” high 25 for the 2021-22 season, Gonzaga was ranked No. 1 with the expectation that Holmgren would select to affix the Zags.

Holmgren clearly would have had the chance to affix the G League Ignite in its “pathway” program, taking part in within the NBA’s minor league for a six-figure wage, however he all the time had maintained that he most well-liked to play school basketball.

In accordance with MaxPreps, Holmgren averaged 20.8 factors, 12.6 rebounds, 4.7 blocks and 4.5 assists — and transformed 80 p.c of his discipline objective makes an attempt.

Holmgren is an uncommon prospect who would possibly greatest be in contrast, no less than when it comes to type, with future Corridor of Famer Kevin Garnett.

Holmgren is 7-0, 190 kilos, not removed from Garnett’s listed 215 as a highschool prospect. Holmgren doesn’t have Garnett’s next-level ferocity, however that isn’t a criticism. That was the standard that separated KG from nearly each different prospect who has left highschool basketball up to now 4 a long time.

However Holmgren does transfer like Garnett. He handles the basketball, is snug dealing with the basket and attacking off the bounce and firing jumpshots. His peak, size and leaping potential assist him to guard the rim.

“Most certainly he’ll play as a giant man in school, however he isn’t like many facilities which have ever come round. Nonetheless skinny — and he must get stronger however would not lack for toughness — Holmgren is a fluid athlete and has a stage of ball abilities that’s unfair for a seven-footer to have,” Eric Bossi of 247 Sports activities wrote. “He legitimately handles, shoots and passes the ball like a guard however rebounds at an elite clip and is among the many greatest rim protectors within the historical past of 247Sports.”

Garnett started his NBA profession in Minnesota, the place he performed a dozen years for the Timberwolves. The place Holmgren will play as a professional will wait till subsequent June. However he ended his highschool profession with a Minnesota state championship. Minnehaha Academy gained its fourth consecutive title with Holmgren scoring 18 factors within the title sport — an 80-29 victory over runner-up Alexandria on the Goal Middle.

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