Auburn men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl didn’t hold back when criticizing the physical makeup of Gonzaga product Chet Holmgren ahead of the 2022 NBA Draft on Thursday night.
“The NBA stands for No Boys Allowed,” Pearl said during an appearance Wednesday on “McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning” podcast. “And that body scares me. It just does.
“He goes knee-to-knee with the wrong guy, and he could get broken in half. Therefore at the very top of the draft, I think I got to go with what I know not what could potentially could maybe someday be.”
Holmgren, a 7-foot, 195-pound prospect, is projected to go No. 2 overall to the Oklahoma City Thunder in The Post’s final 2022 NBA mock draft. He averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 1.9 assists as a freshman in 2021-22.
“Chet’s intriguing, but so was Shawn Bradley,” Pearl said, referring to the Sixers’ No. 2 overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft, who had a similar frame when he entered the league.
Pearl’s critique of Holmgren came after he was asked about who he’d take No. 2 overall after Auburn’s Jabari Smith, an All-American forward whom he coached, and is also regarded as the top draft prospect.
Holmgren’s build and size have been heavily discussed leading up to Thursday’s draft. Some analysts believe his frame is too slender to compete at a high level in the NBA, especially on the defensive end.
The Orlando Magic have the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, which will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, followed by the Thunder and Rockets.