Three from Minnesota selected in NBA draft

David Roddy
Courtesy Colorado State University

Prep Scene

The dreams of Chet Holmgren, David Roddy, and Kendall Brown were realized last Thursday evening, June 23, as each was drafted into the NBA.

Holmgren (7’0”, 195 pounds, Gonzaga University), was the No. 2 overall pick taken by the Oklahoma City Thunder. Roddy (6’6”, 252 pounds, Colorado State University) was pick No. 23 by the Philadelphia 76ers (traded draft day to the Memphis Grizzlies). And Brown (6’8”, 205 pounds, Baylor University) was a second-round pick at No. 48 by the Minnesota Timberwolves (traded draft day to the Indiana Pacers).

Not only did each take a different journey to the NBA, but their development as players took place in the Twin Cities metro area. 

Holmgren, the most decorated player in state history, led Minnehaha Academy to four state boys basketball championships in Class AAA (2021) and Class AA (2017, 2018 and 2019).

After capturing Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year, Mr. Basketball, McDonald All-American, Naismith Player of the Year, and Gatorade National Player of the Year among other honors in 2021, the center went on to become an All-American this past season as a freshman at Gonzaga.

Chet Holmgren
Courtesy Gonzaga University

Holmgren’s father, David Holmgren, starred at Minneapolis Central and Prior Lake before playing at the University of Minnesota from 1984-88.  

Roddy, who also played football and was a member of the track and field team, averaged 29.7 points and 16.6 rebounds as a senior at Breck High School, earning a spot on the Star Tribune All-Metro First Team before embarking on an outstanding three-year career at Colorado State University. He leaves as one of the most decorated student athletes in CSU history.

Brown starred at East Ridge averaging 17 points per game as a sophomore and teaming with his brother Courtney Brown Jr. to lead them to the Class AAAA state boys basketball tournament in 2019.

He transferred to Sunrise Christian Academy in Bel Air, Kansas after his sophomore season and blossomed into one of the top small forwards in the country, signing with Baylor and becoming one of the top collegiate players in the country.

Kendall Brown
Courtesy Baylor University

Brown’s father, Courtney Brown Sr., starred at St. Paul Highland Park in the late 1980s, went on to Southwest State University, played overseas professionally, and had a stint with the Harlem Globetrotters.

Many had hoped Chet Holmgren would be the first overall pick of the draft but not for the reasons one might think, such as all the wealth and prestige that goes along with being the No. 1 pick. But that pick went to the Orlando Magic. 

The Magic, you may remember, took the No. 5 pick of last year’s draft and selected 6‘4” guard Jalen Suggs out of Gonzaga. Suggs and Holmgren were teammates at Minnehaha Academy. It would have been quite the reunion that many were hoping for.

Another interesting fact is that Holmgren and Suggs played AAU ball for Grassroots Sizzle, an organization co-founded by former St. Agnes High School basketball and football great Brian Sandifer.

To have players from the same program selected in back-to-back drafts in the top five in the first round is something to be proud of.