Top Prospects Chet Holmgren And Emoni Bates Put On A Show On Thursday Night

The 2020 NBA Draft class will finally get to hear their names called by Adam Silver on next Wednesday night when the delayed draft takes place, but the future of the league beyond this year is what has draft folks most excited. While the 2020 class has some good players, it lacks the star power that really makes draft classes pop, but that’s not the case for 2021 or 2022.

Next year, Cade Cunningham, Jonathan Kuminga, Evan Mobley, Jalen Green and others top a highly regarded draft class and for 2022, the name currently getting the most buzz is Minnesota high school star Chet Holmgren. On Thursday night, the 7-footer got some time in the national spotlight with a game on ESPN2 against Emoni Bates, the top player for the Class of 2022 (and expected to be a top pick in 2023 in the NBA), and the two put on quite the show.

It wasn’t the prettiest first quarter to the game between Holmgren’s Team Sizzle and Bates’ Ypsilanti Prep, but Bates did open the game with a thunderous display of his athleticism on the break.

Both players had monster performances as they so often do, with Bates finishing with 36 points and 10 rebounds, while Holmgren had 31 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks in a 78-71 win for Team Sizzle. Holmgren showed off his terrific skills as a rim protector with those six blocks, as his length is tremendous and he has a great understanding already of verticality. On offense, his ball-handling abilities were what really shined, as he put the ball on the deck to get to the rim and score with relative ease. Bates meanwhile hit 4-of-11 from three (11-of-22 from the field) as the two dueled in a pretty thrilling game.

Holmgren also showed his abilities on the glass and at the rim on offense, as no one on Ypsi Prep really had an answer for his length — and it doesn’t help when absolutely no one boxes him out.

His biggest play of the night came as he brought the ball up against Bates and put all of that athleticism and ball skill on display with a dazzling drive and dunk.

After the game, draft folks were buzzing about Holmgren’s showing as an all-around player, with rim protection and offensive ability that has earned him comps to Kristaps Porzingis.

The question for Holmgren, of course, is how much of that production will continue to translate as he moves up to college and pro ball and is facing much larger and stronger opponents, but the skill makes it very easy to see why he’s so highly touted. Bates, likewise, gets some huge comps, like Kevin Durant which is always handed out to a lanky wing with great shooting, and as the reigning Gatorade Player of the Year, where he became the first sophomore ever to win the award, he’s likewise headed for a bright future in the pros after a stop at Michigan State.

Next week will be all about this year’s draft class coming in but the talent pool for the near future is loaded and we saw two of the very best go at it on Thursday night.