The ten Jersey Mike’s Naismith Player of the Year finalists were released Thursday night, with top 2021 recruit Chet Holmgren and top 2022 recruit Emoni Bates headlining the group.
Joining Bates and Holmgren on the list were Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith, Hunter Sallis, Caleb Houstan, JD Davison, Kennedy Chandler, Jaden Hardy and Jalen Duren. Banchero (No. 3), Smith (No. 5), Sallis (No. 6) and Houstan (No. 8) are top 10 recruits in the class of 2021, while Chandler ranks 13th. Hardy is the second-ranked recruit in the class of 2022 and Duren checks in at No. 5 in the rankings.
Schools across the country have been after Holmgren for over a year, while the G-League also provides a viable path to the professional ranks for the No. 1 recruit in the country. However, Holmgren provided some clarity on his future in a recent interview with CBS Sports HQ, stating that he is indeed planning on picking a school to attend after high school.
“Yeah, I am definitely looking to find a college to play for,” Holmgren said. “My decision is definitely going to come down to my fit into the school all the way from basketball stuff to academics.”
Holmgren recently narrowed down his recruitment to a list of finalists consisting of Georgetown, Gonzaga, Memphis, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio State. Gonzaga is currently viewed as the favorite to land Holmgren, as his 247Sports Crystal Ball reads 100% in favor of the Bulldogs.
“It is great to see the fans (on social media) trying to lead me to their school,” Holmgren said. “I am not letting it play too much into my decision because at the end of the day I have to find what is best for me and my future. Wherever I end up going, I am sure their fans will be the happiest for me.”
Bates, meanwhile, committed to Michigan State on June 29 and is set to suit up for the Spartans if he elects to play college basketball.
“Extremely thin but has great length for such a skilled player. Plays with strength, though, and doesn’t avoid contact,” 247Sports’ Jerry Meyer said in his scouting report of Bates. “Quick twitch athlete who moves feet well and is quick off the floor. Elite three-level scorer. Has deep range off catch or dribble. Can score in a multitude of ways.
“Handles well, has plethora of moves and can attack either direction. Has a feel as a passer. Dangerous offensive rebounder. Good defensively when focused. Has defensive versatility. Elite, elite prospect.”