Photo courtesy of Under Armour Association/Kelly Kline
By David Cordova
Back in early May, the third session of the Under Armour Association circuit’s regular season was about to commence. Plenty of special talents and hidden gems were in the building at Sportika in Manalapan Township, New Jersey. But there was one player in particular that stood out, literally and figuratively.
Chet Holmgren is his name and basketball is his game. The 7-foot forward is rated as the No. 7 recruit in the Class of 2021 by ESPN and is very skilled and can hold his own despite his lithe frame. He is still able to dominate as far as getting rebounds, playing above the rims and also has a good shooting touch from the outside.
When asked how he handles playing against players that are big and strong in the low post, he replied, “I’m just trying to go out there and be as tough as I can, I don’t care if you’re bigger and stronger than me, I’m going to go out there and rebound and give it my all.”
When asked how he would like his game to be described, he replied, “I’d like to be described as a big wing, I love to bang down low, but that’s not all I can do, I love to step out and stretch the floor, put the ball on the floor when it’s needed and knock down shots.”
Holmgren, a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota, is currently one of the best players in the Twin Cities and in the Midwest. His game is reminiscent of a young Dirk Nowitzki prior to the All-Star forward being drafted into the NBA with the ninth overall pick in the 1998 Draft.
This spring and summer, he was very impressive on the Under Armour Association circuit for Grassroots Sizzle, averaging 15.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.9 blocks per game. When asked about his experience on the circuit, he replied, “Yeah, yeah, it’s been great, I’ve always been with them, love playing with them, and they allow me to showcase my skills and we’re going out and playing as a team.”
This past season, he led his high school, Minnehaha Academy to a 28-3 record and a third straight Class AA state championship. On both Minnehaha and Grassroots Sizzle, he has developed a good two-man game with teammate Jalen Suggs, a 6-foot-4 rising senior point guard and the No. 12 recruit in the Class of 2020 by ESPN.
When asked about playing with Suggs, he replied, “Yeah, we’ve been playing together since third grade, we’ve got great chemistry, we know where each other will be, we know what each other can do, we play really well each other offensively and defensively, it all just comes together.”
At the present time, Holmgren has plenty of big-time Division I colleges on his radar, among them Purdue, Baylor, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Iowa State, Marquette and the school from his home state, Minnesota.
Minnesota holds plenty of weight, being that it is close to home and also, his father, Dave Holmgren, is a 1988 graduate of the school and played for the Gophers in 57 games throughout his four years in college. But he also said that Purdue, which also plays in the Big Ten has made him a priority.
But then again, the question is what interests the younger Holmgren in a school? When asked what a school would have to have in order to land his services, he replied, “I just have to build a great relationship with the coaches, I have to see myself being there for a long time, because it’s going to be my home for awhile. Great facilities, great coaches, nutritionists to help my body, because that’s what I need to take my game to the next level.”
Now that he has two years remaining in his high school career, there’s nowhere for Chet Holmgren to go but up. Failure is not an option, only success is. As he continues to develop his game and get stronger, there is no doubt that he will continue to ascend to greater heights. This is only the beginning.