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“I will always represent Gonzaga and do my best to make you proud… Let’s do this!” - Chet Holmgren sends emotional message to Zag Nation as he declares for the NBA draft

Chet Holmgren leaves Gonzaga after a second-team All-American season.
Chet Holmgren leaves Gonzaga after a second-team All-American season.
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Johnnie Martinez

After a spectacular NCAA basketball season with the Gonzaga Bulldogs, center Chet Holmgren has declared for the NBA draft.

Despite waiting until one of the last days to announce his decision, Holmgren was expected to enter the draft as he should be one of the top selections.

Gonzaga entered the NCAA Tournament as the top-ranked team and held the No. 1 overall seed. But the Bulldogs lost to the Arkansas Razorbacks 74-68 in the Sweet 16 of March Madness.

There was at least some speculation Holmgren might return for his sophomore season as the deadline to declare for the draft approached. That conjecture ended Thursday.

Holmgren became a giant star at Gonzaga as he turned in good performances in many high-profile games.

Holmgren earned several West Coast Conference awards, including Defensive Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year.

Even with all of his success, there are still doubts about Holmgren, who is 7-foot, 195 pounds, in the draft because of his frame and strength.

Holmgren will need to prove he deserves to be one of the top prospects as he goes through the draft process.

Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren is competing for the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft

Chet Holmgren's play against some of the best bigs in college basketball has people questioning his strength.
Chet Holmgren's play against some of the best bigs in college basketball has people questioning his strength.

In his one season with Gonzaga, Chet Holmgren showcased many of the strengths people saw in high school, but his weaknesses were still present.

He fouled out of his last game in March Madness due to fouls he picked up because of his size. That summed up how his season went.

Still, Holmgren is a lock to be a lottery pick and will be a contender for the No. 1 overall pick.

Holmgren averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 3.7 blocks per game. He shot 60.7%, including 39.0% from 3-point range.

I really like the top 8 or so of this draft. Jabari Smith, Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, Jaden Ivey, Benn Mathurin, Shaedon Sharpe, Keegan Murray, Johnny Davis. Certainly a chance for a few others to crack that group. Some really good players.

All the contenders for the top picks have that potential because of what they can bring to the league.

Holmgren's most significant advantages are his shot-blocking and his ability to defend all five positions with his height and athleticism.

Whichever team has the No. 1 pick will need to decide if they value Holmgren's defense over the other top prospects' skills.

Over the next few months, Holmgren will get the opportunity to prove why he is the draft's top prospect.

The NBA draft is June 23.


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Q. Will Chet Holmgren be the No. 1 Overall Pick in the 2022 NBA Draft?

Yes

No

81 votes so far

Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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