MINNEAPOLIS – Chet Holmgren has been playing basketball since he was nine years old, and on Thursday night the dream of a lifetime becomes a reality in the NBA draft.
Holmgren, a former Minnehaha Academy star, is reputedly in the top two. That means he’s more likely to end up with the Orlando Magic or the Oklahoma City Thunder. If he moves to the Magic at #1 overall, that also means he is teammates again with childhood friend Jalen Suggs.
“I definitely talked to him. I saw him recently and besides just talking about Orlando, he gives me a lot of NBA advice,” Holmgren said Monday via Zoom. “We talk a lot about the NBA and he gave me a lot of advice because he was there, he saw it.”
Holmgren, the 7-foot, 195-pound center, is a nightmare for most opponents. In 32 games with Gonzaga, he averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game on his way to becoming America’s Second Team, a Defensive Player of the Year finalist and one of 10 semi-finalists. Naismith trophy.
He can score from close range, pass from double teams, shoot from the perimeter, and even take defenders out of the game. He threw 73.7 percent from the floor in one season at Gonzaga, including 39 percent from the perimeter. His defensive demeanor and ability to block shots also makes him a defensive player under the basket. He is most often compared to Kevin Durant.
His NBA dream will come true Thursday night, and he’s back in New York preparing for the moment he hears his name and shakes hands with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
“It’s definitely crazy this week. I think every little child imagines this. But actually being here, sitting in New York a few days before the call, it’s definitely a blessing. I’m excited about it.” — Holmgren said.
Holmgren, who did not say which teams he trained with before the draft, was asked if he preferred where he would go in the draft knowing it was either Orlando with Suggs or Oklahoma City.
“At the end of the day, having an NBA jersey and wearing that hat on draft night, wherever it is, is going to be a real blessing,” Holmgren said. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t depend on me, wherever I am. I’m going to lace up my boots and get to work as soon as I land in the city. is.”
Holmgren is also one of three Minnesotans likely to have their name heard Thursday night, joining Kendall Brown and David Roddy.
Kendall Brown was an East Ridge star before playing his senior year at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas. The 6-8, 205-pound quarterback played one season at Baylor and was named to the All-Big 12 freshman team. He helped lead players to first place in the NCAA Tournament, averaging 9.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in 34 starts.
Brown may be selected in the middle or end of the first round.
Minneapolis native David Roddy was a star athlete at Breck High School in Golden Valley before pursuing a successful career at Colorado State. Roddy was Mountain West Player of the Year last season, averaging 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. He is a 6-6, 255-pound forward who has been compared to Charles Barkley.
In high school, Roddy excelled in football and basketball, and competed in the discus throw and shot put in track and field.
This year marks the third consecutive year that several Minnesota players have been selected in the NBA draft. Since 2015, nine people have been selected in the state.