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Chet Holmgren Is A Conundrum

What do you take away? And how?

Dixie State v Gonzaga
SPOKANE, WA - NOVEMBER 09: Chet Holmgren #34 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs blocks the shot of Frank Staine #22 of the Dixie State Trailblazers at McCarthey Athletic Center on November 9, 2021 in Spokane, Washington.
Photo by Robert Johnson/Getty Images

Gonazaga is coming up soon, on the 26th of November, and while we will talk about the games in between now and then, we want to talk a bit about Chet Holmgren

We’ve watched the Gonzaga-Dixie State game and most of the Gonzaga-Texas game and we have some idea now of what he’s capable of.

First, he’s legit. He’s 7-1 with guard skills yet he’s a superb shot blocker, not least of all because he doesn’t throw the ball right back to the other team. He’s also an outstanding passer and being 7-1 is a huge asset there.

And he has three point range, just as promised.

Having Drew Timme next to him is a huge advantage. Timme racked up 37 against Texas and his footwork is also as good as promised.

But we’re not sure about a few things. Dixie State, despite losing by 34 points, actually played fairly well. DSU arguably has a bit more size than Texas, surprisingly,

What surprised us was just how hard it was for Holmgren to keep his balance - really to just stay on his feet.

He’s 7-1 and just 190 and that’s really, really thin. Holmgren verges on frail. He can do a lot of things but he can’t really hold his ground. On several occasions much smaller players just moved him aside in both games and in the Dixie State game - much less so in the Texas game - he fell - a lot. The main way most people will probably defend him, until he can bulk up, is going to be to just beat the crap out of him all game. And the thing is, you can probably do that with a guard. You don't even need a big guy. Trevor Keels could do it. So could Jaylen Blakes. We saw a guy with amazing skills but who at times couldn't plant his feet against a much smaller player. He desperately needs to gain weight - and when he does, look out.

We also thought on several occasions that he wasn’t really getting upcourt on offense. That’s not as big a deal because he’s also back on defense and that’s a major problem, but we would have liked it better if he had moved more.

To be clear, Gonzaga was a lot better than Texas and Timme, who scored just 11 against the Trailblazers, lit upTexas up for 37. You can’t ignore either guy.

We’ll return to this later and Gonzaga’s perimeter is pretty good too, but we’re talking big men right now.

And the thing is, Gonzaga hasn’t seen any big men yet. UCLA plays Gonzaga a few days before the Blue Devils and they have some size, but not as much as Duke. We have no idea how Paolo Banchero, Mark Williams and Theo John will match up with Holmgren and Timme. But it’s going to be fun to watch.