NBA Draft - Chet Holmgren headed to Thunder: ‘I’m going to embrace it all’

The Gonzaga seven-footer spoke with Yahoo Sports NBA draft analyst Krysten Peek at the Barclays Center after being selected 2nd overall in the 2022 NBA Draft.

Video Transcript

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KRYSTEN PEEK: I'm Krysten Peek, NBA draft analyst here with the number 2 pick in the NBA Draft, Chet Holmgren, heading to Oklahoma City.

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Chet, I know this is something that you've been working towards your entire life, your entire career. How did it feel to finally hear your name called?

CHET HOLMGREN: Man, it's a mix of a lot of emotions and it's hard to describe. But, you know, it's everything and more that I've been waiting for for a long time and working hard to achieve.

KRYSTEN PEEK: You were very coy in what teams you worked out with when you faced media earlier this week. Did Oklahoma City tell you that they were going to take you at number 2 if you were there?

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CHET HOLMGREN: I didn't have like a phone call--

KRYSTEN PEEK: Oh, OK.

CHET HOLMGREN: --with Sam or anybody in the staff and get like a confirmation or anything like that.

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KRYSTEN PEEK: But did you have a feeling that you were going to go there after the workout, like you had such a good workout that you thought maybe you'd--

CHET HOLMGREN: I definitely definitely--

KRYSTEN PEEK: --fit there?

CHET HOLMGREN: --felt like, you know, I had a good workout and a good interaction with them. I felt like I got to know them really well and they got to know me. And, you know, from there, I kind of just left it up to what I can't control. I didn't want to stress too much on it.

KRYSTEN PEEK: I've known you for a long time now, covering you in high school and college and now the NBA, and you get the same criticism every step of the way. You're too skinny. You can't bang in the post. What do you say to these critics now that are doubting that you can be productive as an NBA player?

CHET HOLMGREN: You know, I don't really want to say anything. I'd, you know, rather just lace them up and prove them wrong.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Yeah.

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You're going to be joining Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, who are phenomenal facilitators. Josh is a great passer. What excites you most about joining that team?

CHET HOLMGREN: I think you just answered the question for me.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Have you talked to them at all? Did you meet up with them after this?

CHET HOLMGREN: I've talked to Josh throughout the process over the phone a little bit, but I've yet to meet them. But I'm excited to talk to both of them and meet them, as well as the rest of the team and the rest of the staff.

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KRYSTEN PEEK: Well, yeah, one of your other teammates is Aleksej Pokusevski, 7' 1", 190 pounds.

CHET HOLMGREN: I'm seeing the memes on Twitter already.

KRYSTEN PEEK: They're calling you-- do you know what they call you?

CHET HOLMGREN: The "Thin Towers", yeah.

KRYSTEN PEEK: "Slim Towers".

CHET HOLMGREN: "Slim Towers", right.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Are you going to embrace that name?

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CHET HOLMGREN: I'm going to just embrace it all, yeah.

KRYSTEN PEEK: OK. And Oklahoma City is obviously building something from the ground up. They still have 30 plus draft picks in the year. How patient do you have to be to be able to just trust the process and trust Sam Presti?

CHET HOLMGREN: You know, just like with any journey in life, you know, you have to be patient. There's going to be ups and downs, but you've got to stay levelheaded, even keeled, and you take the good with the bad. And both are lessons. And, you know, you can't harp on either too long because it's a quick league.

You play 82 games a year. There's a lot of back-to-backs. So you have a good game, you've got to play the next night. You have a bad game, you've got to play the next night.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Yeah.

CHET HOLMGREN: So no matter what happens, you've got to get ready for the next night.

KRYSTEN PEEK: OK. And last question, you're one of the best shot blockers in the country. Who are you hoping to get that, you know, poster moment where you're pinning a ball on the back. What would be the best block in your rookie year?

CHET HOLMGREN: You know, whoever jumps. My job is to protect the rim and that's going to come with it. You know, people are going to try and dunk on me and I'm going to go try and block them. That's my job. That's their job.

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You know, I'm going to live with the results. But, you know, I like my chances.

KRYSTEN PEEK: All right. Well, Chet, thank you so much and good luck in Oklahoma City next year.

CHET HOLMGREN: Thank you very much.

KRYSTEN PEEK: Appreciate it.

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