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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Former Gonzaga standout Chet Holmgren does it all in summer league debut with Oklahoma City

July 5, 2022 Updated Tue., July 5, 2022 at 8:53 p.m.

Chet Holmgren made a strong first impression in his only season at Gonzaga. He was even better Tuesday in his summer league debut with Oklahoma City.

Holmgren took over in the first quarter with three 3-pointers, a soaring dunk, three blocks, one steal and one assist against Utah at Vivint Arena in the Salt Lake City summer league. The rookie showed off the versatility Zag fans witnessed last season with 13 points in just 9 minutes, 35 seconds and an impressive plus-minus of +20.

Holmgren, selected second overall by the Thunder in the NBA Draft two weeks ago, made his initial impact with a blocked shot of former Illinois center Kofi Cockburn with 7:35 remaining in the first quarter. Holmgren’s first basket was a two-handed slam and he quickly followed with three 3-pointers, two when 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall was slow to close out to the 3-point line.

When the Jazz put 6-7 Vic Law on the 7-1 Holmgren, the former Zag dribbled inside, drew a foul on Law and hit both free throws. Later in the quarter, Holmgren hit his third 3-pointer and then swatted Fall for the second time at the other end of the floor.

Holmgren appeared to tweak his left ankle late in the opening period, but he returned with 4:13 left in the second quarter. He immediately fed former Santa Clara guard Jalen Williams for a dunk and drained his fourth 3-pointer. He had 18 points as Oklahoma City led by 15 at half.

The Thunder rolled, 98-77, as Holmgren finished with 23 points, seven rebounds, six blocks and four assists in nearly 24 minutes. He hit 7 of 9 field-goal attempts, including 4 of 6 from distance, and 5 of 5 at the free-throw line.

“Shout out to my teammates setting me up, constantly putting me in position to be successful,” Holmgren told ESPN’s Holly Rowe.

After Utah pulled within 51-37 early in the third quarter, Holmgren swatted Law underneath and then forced an airball by the former Northwestern forward. About a minute later, Holmgren rejected Law again, leading to an OKC fast break and dunk. Holmgren added an assist on Josh Giddey’s 3-ball as the Thunder led 60-39 with midway through the third.

“The hype that he came in with and the way he played tonight was big for us,” Giddey said. “Being a high pick is a lot of pressure coming in and he handled it as well as he could have. Makes my job really easy playing with someone like him. He can stretch the floor and finish at the rim. He’s got my back on the defensive end.”

Holmgren made 4 of 6 field-goal attempts and finished with 14 points, 13 rebounds, seven blocks and six assists in 29 minutes as the Zags pounded Dixie State 97-63 in last year’s season opener.

It was a big day all around for Holmgren. Shortly before Tuesday’s game, Oklahoma City officially announced Holmgren had signed his first NBA contract. Terms weren’t disclosed, but Holmgren is expected to make about $20 million in his first two seasons if he signed for 120% of the rookie salary scale figure, which is typical for first-round selections.

Oklahoma City faces Memphis on Wednesday at 4 p.m. PT (ESPN2).

Petrusev likely to play in Las Vegas

Former Zag forward Filip Petrusev was on the bench, but didn’t play in Philladelphia’s 103-99 loss to Memphis in the Salt Lake City summer league. Petrusev will likely sit out Wednesday’s game vs. Utah and Thursday’s vs. Oklahoma City, but he’s expected to play for the 76ers at the NBA summer league in Las Vegas, according to a tweet by Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Philly’s first game in Las Vegas is Saturday.

Petrusev, selected 50th overall by Philadelphia in the 2021 NBA Draft, has played professionally in Serbia and Turkey. He had 10 rebounds for Serbia in a loss to Latvia in a FIBA World Cup European qualifier last Thursday. He didn’t play in Serbia’s loss to Belgium on Tuesday in Serbia. Petrusev played in four summer league games for Philadelphia last summer.

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