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How Will No. 1 Recruit Chet Holmgren Fare at Gonzaga?

How Will No. 1 Recruit Chet Holmgren Fare at Gonzaga?
Chet Holmgren . Stephen Maturen/Getty Images/AFP

Gonzaga has high hopes in 2022. How will new recruit Chet Holmgren do with the Bulldogs? When you think of Gonzaga, you assume that they develop talent over the course of four years until they are seasoned seniors who lead the team deep in the NCAA Tournament. Recently, they’ve bucked that trend. Gonzaga had a top-10 recruiting class in 2020, and they are following it up with another elite class in 2021.

They only have three recruits in the 2021 class, but two of them are top-10 players. Their prized jewel is Chet Holmgren, the best player in the class. Holmgren is a seven-footer with elite skills on the defensive end. His length will help him become one of the best shot-blockers in college basketball this season.

While his size is unique, he plays like a guard on the perimeter. He’s a matchup nightmare who can score on the wing. With this elite set of skills, expectations are high for the Bulldogs. Gonzaga is an early favorite to win the title next year, and Holmgren is a big reason why. What should we expect?

What to Expect From Holmgren

On his first day, Holmgren will automatically be the most talented person on Gonzaga’s roster. He will lead the team in points, rebounds and blocks if everything goes right for him.

This is so obvious that some younger players have transferred out of the program for Gonzaga. Pavel Zakharov saw his role diminish in 2020, but he transferred at the end of the season partially because of Holmgren’s decision. While he can play anywhere from the 3 to the 5, his size makes it hard to fit other big men on the court. Drew Timme also looks to return for another year, so expect Holmgren to play more as a stretch player. This will work well for him as he looks to gain mass on his slim frame.

Gonzaga is bringing in transfers at guard, so their roster will be stacked once again. Once Holmgren is comfortable, he will be the first option for the best team in college basketball. His potential is up there with some of the best to ever play the game, and he’s in a great situation to develop as a basketball player for a year.

What Could Go Wrong With Chet Holmgren?

Holmgren seems to be a slam dunk (no pun intended,) but that’s never the case. We’ve seen college recruits who don’t live up to the hype. This is unlikely with Holmgren, but what could possibly lead him to have a disappointing season? Size is the one true weakness with Holmgren. He’s slim, so he might have trouble if he has to win in the post. He will win mostly on the perimeter, but how will that translate over the course of a whole season?

Holmgren has relied on his unique skillset since he had his first growth spurt. This will be the first time he consistently plays against players with similar skills. He will still be the best player, but there could be some early growing pains. Once he hits his groove, Holmgren could easily be the best player in college basketball. The good news is that Gonzaga is talented enough to mask any flaws in one player. We’ll just have to see what happens in the 2021-22 season.

Chet Holmgren Hannah Foslien/Getty Images/AFP

Can Gonzaga Win It All?

Obviously, the Bulldogs are favorites in the NCAA Basketball odds board for a reason. They had an undefeated season until the final game last year, and their roster somehow looks more talented this year. So, what should we expect from Gonzaga? They could easily have another undefeated regular season. Even if they face stiffer competition, they will be more talented on paper than any team in the country.

The only reason that it’s hard to pick them to win it all is the format of the NCAA Tournament. Top teams rarely win it all because there are so many opportunities to slip up. It only takes one loss to end your season, so it’s hard to consider anyone a lock to win a national title. Still, Gonzaga should expect to make it to the Final Four. If they stay healthy, they could make it back to the national championship. Either way, it will be fun to watch what they do with the highest prospect in the 2021 recruiting class.