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Gonzaga freshman center Chet Holmgren is as advertised.
The 7-foot-1, 195-pounder was the No. 1 overall player in the 2021 ESPN 100. Holmgren made his debut in No. 1 Gonzaga’s 97-63 victory over Dixie State on Tuesday night, scoring 14 points with 13 rebounds, six assists and seven blocks.
Holmgren stuffed the stat sheet in 28 minutes, tying the Gonzaga single-game record for blocks in the Mark Few era, which began in the 1999-2000 season. He’s the first player in the last 25 years to record at least 10 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and five blocks in his Division I debut.
“It’s pretty cool to hear that, but I’m just happy we were able to go out there and come out with a win,” Holmgren said after the game. “We had a lot of great performances from other guys on the team, great plays.”
Holmgren’s defense stuck out arguably more than his offense and playmaking ability, at least to acting head coach Brian Michaelson.
“He’s really unique in that he can block shots on and off the ball,” Michaelson said. “A lot of times you get great off-ball shot blockers. Obviously, a guy like Brandon Clarke comes to mind there. He was so special and obviously broke the record here for a single season, but Chet’s ability to block shots on and off the ball is really impressive.
“The other thing that’s unique about him and what helps with that is he can block shots with both hands and that’s pretty unique too.”
Clarke, now a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, set the single season record for blocks per game in a single season with 3.8 in 2018-2019. Holmgren could surpass Clarke’s record when the season ends.
“Sometimes they drive in there and it’s kind of like you know it’s going to happen,” senior guard Rasir Bolton said. “Just waiting for him to clean it up and get the ball out so we can get going.”