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Chet Holmgren, 5-Star Gonzaga Commit, Named Gatorade National Player of the Year

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJune 9, 2021

CHANDLER, AZ - NOVEMBER 08: Chet Holmgren, from Minnehaha High School, shoots a free throw during the Pangos All-American Festival on November 8, 2020 at AZ Compass Prep in Chandler, AZ. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Jayson Tatum, Karl-Anthony Towns, Ben Simmons and, now, Chet Holmgren.

Those are just some of the players who have taken home the Gatorade National Player of the Year award after Holmgren was announced as the 2020-21 winner on Wednesday, per Myron Medcalf of ESPN.

The Gonzaga signee, who is a 5-star prospect and the No. 1 overall player in the class of 2021, per 247Sports' composite rankings, averaged 20.8 points, 12.6 rebounds, 4.7 blocks and 4.4 assists last season for Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"It's definitely a huge honor to win such a prestigious award and it's even more of an honor to me personally because of the charity work that they'll do on my behalf by donating to a sports program close to home that's helped a lot of people I know," he said. 

Attention now turns to whether Holmgren can help lead the Bulldogs to their first national title in program history after they lost to Baylor in last season's national championship game.

He figures to be part of a dominant frontcourt alongside Drew Timme, who returns and could challenge for the Wooden Award as a double-double threat every time he steps on the floor.

ESPN's Jeff Borzello ranked Gonzaga as the No. 1 overall team in his Top 25 rankings for the 2021-22 campaign, highlighting both the return of Timme and the recruitment of Holmgren. Gonzaga also added highly regarded point guard Nolan Hickman and Iowa State transfer Rasir Bolton.

If Holmgren can live up to expectations, he may parlay a national title run during one season at the collegiate level into being a top-five draft pick at the 2022 NBA draft.

For now, he was the best high school player in the country this past season and is preparing for his time at Gonzaga.

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