Chet Holmgren is ready to use his new passport.
Gonzaga’s new student has accomplished quite a bit in his young career and added another milestone – becoming USA Basketball’s U19 team – earlier this week.
This achievement means more to Holmgren than the many National Preparation Player of the Year awards he has won over the past two months.
“I would say it’s a lot more important than a lot of these awards,” Holmgren said in a Zoom interview on Saturday from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, where the U19 team continue their preparations for the FIBA ââWorld Cup, from Saturday to July 11 in Riga. , Latvia. âA lot of these (awards) are a committee of people who picked someone. These are trials, competing against people over the course of a few days. You have to beat people for a limited number of places.
“It certainly means more that I got to win this in front of people, if that makes sense, more than some of those other awards.”
This is the first time Holmgren will wear an American basketball uniform in competition. He was part of the US team at the Nike Hoop Summit last year, but the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This will be the first time the Minnesota native has traveled outside of the United States
âMy passport is brand new,â said Holmgren. “He’s got my signature, and that’s about it.”
The 12-player roster includes six new freshmen and six with a season of college basketball under their belt. TCU coach Jamie Dixon is the head coach, assisted by Jerod Haase of Stanford and James Jones of Yale.
“I feel good about the team we have,” said Holmgren. âIt’s a great group of guys. We love competition and love to go strong. The 12 of us are very talented in many ways. I think the committee has adapted perfectly to the team.
The United States are the reigning FIBA ââU19 World Cup champions. Former Zags point guard Jalen Suggs, who was a teammate with Holmgren at Minnehaha Academy and the AAU Tour, was part of this 2019 squad and two other US gold medalist teams at the U17 and U16 levels.
âJalen said it was a great experience on and off the pitch. He has made lasting friendships with guys he is friends with to this day, âsaid Holmgren. âYou learn a lot and see where you stack up against not only the best guys in the country, but across the world.
âIt’s an opportunity he told me not to take for granted. I try to go out and go hard every day.
Holmgren spent a few days in Gonzaga before leaving for training camp at TCU.
âI moved in and mostly settled in,â said Holmgren. âI had a good amount of workouts throughout the week, lifting with (strength and conditioning) trainer TK (Travis Knight). … “He wasn’t trying to kill me until I left for the United States (trials). He was trying to figure out where I am, to have a baseline, and then I’m going to hit real hard when I come back.