Auburn’s men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl gave an interview Wednesday to the radio show “McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning” ahead of the NBA 2022 draft on Thursday.
Pearl praised Auburn players Jabari Smith and Walker Kessler for entering the NBA draft. He also praised Duke Paolo Banchero.
His words were not so kind to Gonzaga’s seven-legged Chet Holmgren, who is the No. 2 pick by USA Today.
Pearl’s comments about Holmgren came in response to Greg McElroy asking who would take No. 2 after Jabari Smith. Pearl went with Banchero.
Bruce Pearl criticizes Chet Holmgren’s body
“Chet is interesting, but so is Sean Bradley,” Pearl said, referring to the No. 2 overall pick of the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1993 NBA Draft.
Bradley, 6 feet tall, played in the NBA from 1993-2005, but never became an NBA All-Star. He led the NBA in blockbusters in 2000-01 and was in the top five in blockbusts seven times.
“The NBA means No Boys Allowed,” Pearl said, referring to Holggren. “And this body scares me. It just scares me. It goes from knee to knee with the wrong guy and it can break in the middle. So at the top of the draft, I think I have to go with what I know not what could possibly to be one day “.
Holggren is 7 feet and 195 pounds. He averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists for Gonzaga as a freshman in 2021-22.
Smith is 6 feet 10 and 220 pounds. Kessler is 7 feet-1 and 245 pounds.
Bruce Pearl praises Jabari Smith’s jump shot
Before Pearl talks about Holmgren, Cole Cubelic asked Pearl to talk about how Jabari Smith competes behind the scenes.
“I do not think there is any concern there,” Pearl said of Smith’s competitiveness. “I think the question is, I think, about the No. 1 reason why you take it No. 1. Absolutely the jump shot is the best of any size in college basketball for the last 10 years – up to KD (Kevin) Durant) maybe. This is pure and this translates. This is productivity right away.
“The second thing is that he can protect from one to five, because he really competes defensively,” Pearl continued for Smith. “The No. 1 reason is that the child does not lose. This is the No. 1. He does not lose.”
Bruce Pearl compares Walker Kessler to Al Horford
USA Today predicts Walker Kessler to be the No. 25 pick in the NBA 2022 draft. Here is what Pearl said about Kessler on Wednesday.
“He’s an amazing athlete,” Pearl said. “People are not talking about his athleticism, his speed, his speed, his ability to move sideways – obviously his ability to lift. And he is not 7 feet. He is 7-1 and a little bit. And one and a half inches makes a “Big, big difference. So obviously, it can affect the game. I thought he was the most influential player in college basketball last year, because of what he did on the edge both offensively and defensively.”
Pearl talked about Kessler for a few minutes and ended up comparing him to the Boston Celtics forward and former Florida Gutters national team champion Al Horford, along with NBA center Brooke and Robin Lopez.
“I think he will be a dominant 3-point shooter at the next level,” Pearl said of Kessler. “Al Horford never scored a three-pointer in Florida, he never scored a three-pointer in Florida and he is one of the top five in the NBA at his age. Walker is ahead of him. He could be like one of the Lopez twins – a factor in rim and factor in the line of 3 points “.
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The Orlando Magic have the No. 1 pick in the NBA 2022 draft. The draft is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. CT on Thursday 23 June.
Erik Hall is the leading digital sports producer with USA Today Network. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik.
This article originally appeared on the Montgomery Advertiser: Auburn’s Bruce Pearl destroys Chet Holmgren before the NBA 2022 draft