After a year in college basketball, Holmgren announced his decision to enter the draft on Thursday. The 7-foot, 195-pound center helped the top-seeded, top-ranked Bulldogs (28-4) reach the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Holmgren was named a second-team All-American and was the West Coast Conference's Defensive Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year. He was also on the All-WCC first team. and the WCC All-Freshman team.
Still, some doubt how good Holmgren will be in the league. Schmitz, however, has high praise for him:
"He's arguably the most unique draft prospect I've ever evaluated."
Schmitz believes there are parts of Holmgren's game that stand out and make him worth taking at the top of the draft.
"He does it on both ends of the floor. Do not confuse skinny with soft. Seven-6 wingspan. His competitiveness is one of his best qualities. And then he can also guard in the perimeter and protect the rim at a high level."
The point about confusing skinny with soft will be a critical component of Holmgren's draft stock because that is the biggest concern about him.
His ability to handle the physicality at the professional level will determine his ability to be an effective rim protector. If teams believe Holmgren cannot control the physical demands on his slender frame, they will not draft him.
Still, plenty of parts of his game can translate to the next level.
Mike Schmitz believes in Chet Holmgren's ability to succeed in the NBA
ESPN analyst Mike Schmitz is buying into the unique talents of Chet Holmgren and their ability to translate into the NBA.
"Little bit of Dirk (Nowitzki) – the right shoulder, one-legged fallaway. Outstanding reach. That's going to translate. By the way, the cherry on top, you can bring him off a handoff, run him off a screen, can handle in transition. So, he's truly a modern positionless player."
The comparison to Nowitzki is a strong one given his ability as a shooter, which he showcased during his time with the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
With the pace of play in the modern NBA, Holmgren's ability to find success as a shooter and defend in transition is precious for the team that drafts him.
If Holmgren can handle the physical demands of the NBA, Schmitz will be correct about his ability to succeed.
Q. Will Chet Holmgren be physical enough for the NBA?