For all the success that the Gonzaga men's basketball team has had over the past couple of decades, the Zags still are yet to win a national title – of course, suffering their first loss of the 2020-21 season in the NCAA Tournament title game against Baylor. It's hard to imagine the 2021-22 Zags could be as good, but they got great and mostly expected news Monday when the nation's top recruit in the Class of 2021, 7-footer Chet Holmgren, committed to play for Mark Few. William Hill Sportsbook lists Gonzaga as the clear +700 favorite to win it all next April, down from +800 pre-Holmgren commitment. No other school has odds better than +1200.
The 2022 Final Four will be held on April 2 & 4 from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Few is losing three key players off this past season's team at a minimum in freshman sensation Jalen Suggs, who will be a Top 5 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Corey Kispert and Joel Ayayi. However, both Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard could return. Neither might be drafted if they came out – they aren't listed among the Top 50 prospects on the CBS Sports Big Board.
Holmgren, an early projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, starred for Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis and was a high school and AAU teammate of Suggs', and they are good friends. "He had a lot of influence," Holmgren said of Suggs. Holmgren is rail thin at 190 pounds on his 7-foot-1 frame, but he handles the ball and shoots from deep like a guard while also a stellar shot blocker. One player comparison often mentioned is Kristaps Porzingis of the Dallas Mavericks.
Holmgren made 80% of his field-goal attempts and averaged 20.8 points, 12.6 rebounds and 4.7 blocks as a senior. He was named the Naismith prep player of the year and led Minnehaha Academy to its fourth straight state title. Holmgren picked Gonzaga over Georgetown, Memphis, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio State. Holmgren also could have chosen to go straight to the G-League.
Sister site 247Sports now ranks the 2021 Gonzaga class as third-best in the nation and the best in school history. Suggs had been the top-ranked recruit to ever commit to the school until Omaha's Hunter Sallis, ranked No. 3 nationally, did a few weeks ago. Obviously, now Holmgren holds that honor. Few also welcomes four-stars Kaden Perry and Fanbo Zeng.
Few did lose one of the most highly-respected assistant coaches in the country in Tommy Lloyd, who took the Arizona head coaching job.
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