Seven-footer, No. 4 basketball recruit in nation for 2021, visits Ohio State first

Adam Jardy
From left, Chet Holmgren's mother, father David Holmgren, Ohio State men's basketball coach Chris Holtmann and Chet Holmgren at the Ohio State-Miami football game Saturday. [Adam Jardy]

The open contact period of the recruiting calendar threw the Holmgren family into a bit of a whirlwind.

Since the open period allowing college coaches to visit schools to recruit players began Sept. 9, there has been a steady stream of attention for Chet Holmgren, the No. 4 national recruit in the class of 2021. With plenty of time to make a decision, and interest from across the country, Holmgren managed to sift through it all and decide on two early official visits.

He will visit Gonzaga during the weekend of Oct. 5. And an unofficial visit to nearby Minnesota is on tap for this weekend. But first, Holmgren and his parents made their first official visit last weekend when they went to Ohio State.

“Well, that was Chet’s decision,” his father, David Holmgren, told The Dispatch. “That really wasn’t up to us. I guess you could say he had a soft spot in his heart for Ohio State since he was a kid. He kind of became an Ohio State fan when (Jared) Sullinger was there. That might’ve had something to do with it. He wanted to go there, so I said OK, let’s go.”

A 7-foot, 190-pound junior, the younger Holmgren is a five-star prospect and the No. 4 national recruit according to the composite rankings. A versatile, skilled big man, he famously drew headlines during the summer when a clip of him blowing past Steph Curry at a camp went viral on the internet.

It’s all added to the buzz surrounding the Minneapolis Minnehaha Academy player.

“It hit us unexpectedly the last couple of weeks,” his father said. “With school starting and the ability for the coaches to hit campus and talk to us on-site at the high school, it was a whirlwind with a lot of people hitting us all at once. We weren’t quite prepared for it, I guess you could say. We’re just taking it one day at a time.”

Even the two-day trip to Ohio State, which saw the Holmgren family take in the football team’s 76-5 win against Miami University in Ohio Stadium, was a lot to process in a short amount of time.

“The visit was fun,” David Holmgren said. “It was informative, beautiful campus, and the coaches were very hospitable and got their message across very clearly. He gets to spend some of the time with the kids, we get to spend all the time with the coaches, basically.

“Honestly, it’s really hard to kind of get a feel for it in two days. This was our first visit, so everybody’s on their best behavior so it’s really hard to say if there was anything derogatory about it. I guess time will tell as we get to talking to them more and seeing them more how that all works out.”

The highlight, he said, was that “the kids seemed genuinely comfortable there with the staff and their surroundings, and that was nice to see.”

The Holmgren family is in no rush to make a commitment, he said. Although it has been more than 30 years since David Holmgren was recruited, ultimately signing with and playing for Minnesota from 1985-88, his experiences have helped him give his son some advice as he goes through the process.

“What I’ve told him is just make sure you feel comfortable with the staff and the kids,” he said. “That’s kind of hard with one visit. If he chooses, we can come back again next year. He’s got to be comfortable with the staff and the kids, particularly the kids, and he’s got to be comfortable with the school on top of that. It’s a lot to process in a short time.”

David Holmgren said his ties to Minnesota, as well as the close proximity of the school, will not impact his son’s decision. The ultimate decider will be Chet’s comfort level with the school he chooses, he said.

“It’s his life, and the ties he wants to go forward with are what’s important to me,” he said. “I’m in no way influencing him one way or another to go anywhere, my alma mater or not. That’s completely up to him. I’m not pushing in any direction. Maybe later on when I have more information from everybody I might make some suggestions, but right now it’s whatever he wants to do is what we’re going to explore.”


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