Chet Holmgren added another accomplishment to his résumé on Wednesday, as he was named the 2020-2021 Gatorade National Player of the Year.
Holmgren, the No. 1 recruit from the 2021 class, will play college basketball at Gonzaga. He announced his commitment back in April.
In his final season at Minnehaha Academy, Holmgren averaged 20.8 points, 12.6 rebounds, 4.7 blocks and 4.4 assists per game. He’s a two-way star capable of taking over a game at any moment.
Though most analysts already believe Holmgren is a future star in the making, being named Gatorade National Player of the Year certainly helps that narrative. It’s an award that has been won by Karl-Anthony Towns, LeBron James, Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum.
We sat down with Chet Holmgren to discuss winning the Gatorade National Player of the Year award, his future at Gonzaga and much more.
The Spun: What was it like receiving the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award?
Chet Holmgren: It’s definitely a great honor to receive an award like this, not only because it recognizes my ability off the court, but it also recognizes some of the things I’ve done off the court, in the classroom and for my community.
The Spun: Does it make it that much sweeter that Jalen Suggs presented the award?
CH: It’s very cool. I was surprised by it since no one told me beforehand. We got on the Zoom call and he had some things to tell me. It was great to get the award from a close teammate and friend.
The Spun: You announced your commitment in the spring. What about Gonzaga just stood out to you?
CH: One thing was the fit. I just feel like it’s perfect for me.
The Spun: Drew Timme announced he’s returning for another season. What do you think you two can accomplish in the frontcourt?
CH: Being able to play off each other. He’s such a skilled player with the ball in the hands. He can create plays for himself and others because of his vision. Being able to play off each other’s strengths should be nice. I see my shooting help space the floor for his driving lanes and stuff like that. I can also come in and protect the rim on defense, which is something they needed last year. I see us helping each other out and the team as well.
— chet holmgren (@ChetHolmgren) May 26, 2021
The Spun: You’ve been compared to so many great players already. How do you handle those expectations?
CH: I don’t really pay attention to them. I just set my own goals that I want to accomplish and I know what I have to do to get there. What Joe Schmoes think about me doesn’t pay my bills or help my situation. I have to focus on myself and do what I strive to do.
The Spun: Which NBA players do you like to study?
CH: I like to watch basketball in general, so I watch a lot of talented players. I love to watch Kevin Durant and the things he’s able to do with the ball in his hands. I like to watch guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James as well. The list can go on and on, but I’ll end it there.
The Spun: You were invited to the Team USA U-19 World Cup training camp. What does that mean to you?
CH: It’s definitely an honor to be able to represent my country with the jersey I wear, and hopefully, I get that opportunity. Being able to travel the world and play basketball is extremely cool. It’s not something I thought would happen way back then, but it’s cool the opportunity has arisen.
— SLAM HS Hoops (@SLAM_HS) June 10, 2021
The Spun: How excited are you to play in front of fans at The Kennel?
CH: I’m very excited. Jalen and a lot of other players missed out on the opportunity to play in front of packed arenas. I’m not quite sure how many people can be in The Kennel this year, but I’m assuming it’ll be a high percentage. Whatever amount we can have in there, I’m sure they’ll fill up the seats. Hopefully, The Kennel is crazy this year and we have an atmosphere that’ll help us be successful.
The Spun: What should college basketball fans expect from Chet Holmgren next season?
CH: Hard work and dedication. I’m going to come in ready to learn and work as hard as I can to help us be successful and win games. I’m just worried about coming in and winning games.
— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) June 9, 2021
Holmgren is expected to start for the Bulldogs next season. If all goes well, he could find himself firmly in the mix to be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
You can read more of our interviews with athletes or media stars here.