Gonzaga Bulldogs freshman center Chet Holmgren has declared for the draft, paving the way to become one of the highest draft picks in school history.
Holmgren, who arrived at Gonzaga as the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2021, showcased his wide range of skills throughout the entirety of the season, demonstrating to the Spokane faithful game in and game out an unrelenting competitive drive with a unique skill set.
He averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks per game. He shot 39 percent from three, 73.7 percent from two, and 71.7 percent from the free throw line. He set the single school record for blocks, was First-Team All-WCC, WCC Defensive Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year, and was a consensus second-team All-American. Quite the accolades for a freshman.
Unfortunately, just like the rest of the Zags, Holmgren’s anticipated season was cut short in a Sweet 16 loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks. Holmgren, who scored 11 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in 23 minutes, “fouled out” (the quotes required since fouls No. 3 and 4 couldn’t even be justified by the TV crew).
It was never a question if Holmgren would come back to Gonzaga. Players that are potential No. 1 picks in the NBA Draft don’t do such things. With his one year at Gonzaga finished, Holmgren can now look at impacting the NBA as he did the world of college. He has a good chance to be the No. 1 pick, and if not that, be picked either at No. 2 or No. 3, the highest since Adam Morrison went No. 3 in the 2006 draft.
Watching a player like Holmgren was an absolute gift, and although the season did not end the way many of us wanted, for me, it does not detract from the joy of watching him play.