Stretch big man from FAB 50 No. 7 Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.) named 2021 Mr. Basketball USA by Ballislife.com. Chet Holmgren is the first ever selection from Minnesota and will attend Gonzaga University.
There were plenty of milestone and first-time occurrences during the 2020-21 high school basketball season. The first order of business was deciding when to release “end-of-season” national honors because, as many know, the 2020-21 season is still going. In fact, in California, Washington and Oregon, the season will be going after school districts let school out for the summer. The affects of COVID-19 on high school basketball will linger far into the summer.
To be fair to players in those three Western states and the others who played spring seasons, we wanted to offer a fair opportunity at end-of-season honors. However, and the season wore along it became clear: Seven-foot Chet Holmgren of Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.) is a special player and no matter when the announcement was set for, the results were going to be the same with regards to national player of the year.
It was clear to the 10-man Mr. Basketball USA panel, and to most fans that watched him over the course of the past year, that Holmgren is a unique prospect and best player in the country for the 2020-21 season. Today, he is honored with the title of 2020-21 Mr. Basketball USA.
“Chet Holmgren has been the best prospect and player in high school since at least August prior to his junior year, in my opinion,” said panel member Frank Burlison of BurlisonOnBasketball.com.
Watch the video below to check out “In The Paint” and “On The Rise” co-hosts Ronnie Flores and Devin Ugland discuss the full Mr. Basketball USA Player of the Year voting (full results below) and stay tuned for a special guest interview with Chet’s high school coach, Lance Johnson, of Minnehaha Academy.
Burlison’s sentiments are reflected in the final Mr. Basketball USA Tracker ballots. The Gonzaga-bound stretch big man collected all ten first-place votes, finishing with 100 total points. The second-place finisher behind the consensus player of the year choice was Auburn-bound forward Jabari Smith of Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.). Smith tallied six second-place votes (good for nine points each) and 79 points overall. The third of 26 overall candidates to appear on all 10 ballots was Tennessee-bound point guard Kennedy Chandler of Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.), who garnered one third-place vote and two fourth-place votes as part of his 62 overall points.
Holmgren joins Michael Porter of Nathan Hale (Seattle, Wash.) in 2016-17 and Ben Simmons of Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) in 2014-15 as the three players in the 14-year history of the Mr. Basketball USA Tracker to earn a perfect score of 100 points on any single ballot. Similar to Porter and Simmons, Holmgren went wire-to-wire as the top vote-getter with 100 points in each round of voting results.
Last year’s honoree, Cade Cunningham of Montverde Academy received 95 of 100 points in the final tracker. In 2019, Isaiah Stewart of La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) tallied 93 points and in 2018, R.J. Barrett of Montverde Academy tallied 98 points.
Holmgren led the Redhawks to the MHSL Class AAA state title with a 22-1 mark and No. 7 FAB 50 national ranking, which will go down as the highest ever ranking for a Minnesota team, topping last season’s undefeated Eden Prairie team that finished No. 12. Holmgren played five years on the varsity and Minnehaha Academy captured four state titles in that time frame.
Holmgren was a skinny, 6-foot-6 eighth grader who played spot varsity minutes (in Minnesota student-athletes can play varsity before ninth grade) while averaging 1.4 ppg and less than one rpg. According to Johnson, he started to show glimpses of the player he is today in tenth-grade, when he averaged 18.2 ppg, 9.8 rpg and a career-high 5.5 bpg for a 29-2 team.
As a underclassmen, Holmgren teamed up with NBA-bound point guard Jalen Suggs (who led Gonzaga to the 2021 NCAA title game) and with his good friend in the college ranks in 2020-21, he was just as individually dominant. Holmgren was efficient in all facets of the game, averaging 20.8 ppg, 12.6 rpg, 4.4 apg, and 4.7 bpg (he averaged 4.9 bpg as a junior). On the season, he converted an incredible 157-of-194 two-point field goal attempts (81%) and 21-of-67 3-point attempts (31%).
Holmgren is lauded as a good teammate, put together one of the best seasons we’ve ever seen in terms of offensive efficiency and was hailed as the best defensive player in the country. It’s been a long time since a big man national player of the year candidate has put together such a complete resume.
Holmgren is the first true post player to earn the nation’s most prestigious individual honor since 2013-14, when Cliff Alexander of Curie (Chicago) was the choice. Holmgren also makes history as the first player from the state of Minnesota to be recognized as the best high school player in the country.
If history is any indication, this year’s top player will one day soon play in the NBA.
Editor’s Note: Click on the “+” sign next to each player’s number to view how many first, second, third or fourth place votes he got and his overall point total. Previous tracker results are also listed (“Prev.”).
|1||1||Chet Holmgren (10)||Minnehaha Academy (MN)||10||0||0||0||100|
|2||2||Jabari Smith (10)||Sandy Creek (GA)||0||6||1||1||79|
|3||3||Jalen Duren (9)||Montverde Academy (FL)||0||2||4||1||66|
|4||5||Kennedy Chandler (10)||Sunrise Christian (KS)||0||0||1||2||62|
|5||7||TyTy Washington (7)||AZ Compass Prep (AZ)||0||1||1||1||39|
|6||16T||Caleb Houstan (5)||Montverde Academy (FL)||0||0||1||1||28|
|7T||6||Emoni Bates (5)||Ypsi Prep (MI)||0||1||1||0||23|
|7T||9||Hunter Sallis (5)||Millard North (NE)||0||0||0||1||23|
|9||13||Daimion Collins (6)||Atlanta (TX)||0||0||0||1||22|
|10||10||Mike Foster (4)||Hillcrest Prep (AZ)||0||0||1||0||17|
|11||11T||J.D. Davison (5)||Calhoun (AL)||0||0||0||0||16|
|12T||16T||Kobe Bufkin (3)||Grand Rapids Christian (MI)||0||0||0||0||12|
|12T||8||D.J. Wagner (3)||Camden (NJ)||0||0||0||1||12|
|14||16T||Moussa Diabate (1)||IMG Academy (FL)||0||0||0||0||8|
|15T||16T||Nolan Hickman (2)||Wasatch Academy (UT)||0||0||0||0||7|
|15T||NR||Peyton Watson (2)||Long Beach Poly (CA)||0||0||0||0||7|
|17T||NR||Amari Bailey (3)||Sierra Canyon (CA)||0||0||0||0||6|
|17T||NR||Tyrese Hunter (1)||St Catherines (WI)||0||0||0||0||6|
|19T||NR||Rashool Diggins (1)||Archbishop Wood (PA)||0||0||0||0||4|
|19T||15||DaRon Holmes (1)||AZ Compass Prep (AZ)||0||0||0||0||4|
|21||NR||Saint Thomas (1)||Millard North (NE)||0||0||0||0||3|
|22||NR||Matthew Cleveland (1)||Pace (GA)||0||0||0||0||2|
|23T||NR||Adrame Diongue (1)||Bella Vista Prep (AZ)||0||0||0||0||1|
|23T||NR||Harrison Ingram (1)||St. Marks (TX)||0||0||0||0||1|
|23T||NR||J.J. Taylor (1)||Kenwood (IL)||0||0||0||0||1|
|23T||NR||Bruce Thornton (1)||Milton (GA)||0||0||0||0||1|
2020-21 Mr. Basketball USA Tracker Panel
Paul Biancardi, ESPN National Director of Basketball Recruiting
Frank Burlison, BurlisonOnBasketball.com Publisher
Van Coleman, Global Sports Television C.O.O.
Jordan Divens, Maxpreps.com National Basketball Editor
Ronnie Flores, Ballislife.com National Grassroots Editor
Bob Gibbons, All-Star Sports
Chris Lawlor, Blue Star Media National Analyst
Jerry Meyer, 247Sports.com Director of Scouting
Patrick Stanwood, Patrick Stanwood Basketball
Dinos Trigonis, Fullcourt Press Editor & Publisher
About Basketball USA Tracker Panel
Ballislife.com’s panel of 10 experts, which includes six McDonald’s All-American selection committee members, casts its vote for the top national player of the year candidates. Each panelist lists his top seven candidates regardless of class. The votes are then tabulated on a 10-point scoring system with a first-place vote equaling 10 points, a second-place vote earning nine points and down to four points for a seventh-place vote. The number in parenthesis refers to the numbers of ballots on which a player appeared and previous rankings refers to position in the previous tracker.