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Gonzaga Basketball

Former Gonzaga forward Chet Holmgren named first-team All-Rookie

Chet Holmgren, a former Gonzaga standout now with the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, interacted with fans after having his jersey retired at Minnehaha Academy in Minnesota last month.  (Tribune News Service)

Chet Holmgren’s season with the Oklahoma City Thunder is over but he’s still collecting awards.

The former Gonzaga forward was named to the NBA All-Rookie first team, along with San Antonio’s Victor Wembanyama, Miami’s Jaime Jaquez Jr., Charlotte’s Brandon Miller and Golden State’s Brandin Podziemski.

Holmgren, who finished second to Wembanyama for Rookie of the Year two weeks ago, and Wembanyama were unanimous selections with all 99 first-team votes. Miller received 97 first-team votes, Jaquez 89 and Podziemski 64.

Holmgren and Brandon Clarke (2020) are the only Zags to earn All-Rookie first-team honors. Rui Hachimura (2020), Kelly Olynyk (2014) and Adam Morrison (2007) are former GU standouts to make the second team. All five were first-round draft picks.

The All-Rookie second team debuted in 1989. Former Gonzaga great and Hall of Famer John Stockton didn’t make the 1985 All-Rookie team (Sam Perkins, Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Sam Bowie, Charles Barkley).

Holmgren was drafted second overall by OKC in 2022 but was sidelined for the 2023 season following foot surgery. The 7-foot-1 Holmgren put injury concerns to rest by playing in every game this season – all 82 in the regular season and the Thunder’s 10 playoff games. Holmgren and former Zag standout Domantas Sabonis are among 17 that played in every regular-season contest this season.

Holmgren averaged 29.4 minutes, 62.3% on 2-pointers, 37% on 3s, 79.3% at the foul line, 16.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.3 blocks. His playing time increased in the playoffs to 34.5 minutes per game. He averaged 15.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in the postseason.

Holmgren is the first rookie in Thunder history with 1,000-plus points and 500-plus rebounds. He’s one of two NBA players to have at least 150 blocks, 150 assists and 100 made 3-pointers.

Top-seeded Oklahoma City swept New Orleans in the first round before falling to Dallas 4-2 in the Western Conference semifinals. Holmgren’s playoff high was 26 points vs. the Pelicans. He scored in double figures in nine of 10 postseason games and finished with 21 points in OKC’s season-ending loss to Dallas.

Holmgren averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocks in his only season as a Zag. He was named the West Coast Conference’s top newcomer and defender and joined Drew Timme as second-team AP All-Americans.

Holmgren and Clarke share GU’s single-season blocks record with 117.

Timme and Santa Clara’s Podziemski were co-WCC player of the Year in 2023. The Broncos have had two straight All-Rookie first-team selections with Podziemski and Holmgren’s OKC teammate Jalen Williams, in 2023.