On Thursday night, with the 22nd pick in the NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves selected Walker Kessler, a 7-foot-1 forward with two years of college experience.
A consensus top-20 recruit in the 2020 high-school class, Kessler started his career at North Carolina, appearing in 29 games with zero starts. He averaged 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds as a Tar Heel, totaling 127 points and 94 boards in his freshman campaign. After the season, he entered the transfer portal, narrowing his options to Auburn, Gonzaga, and a return to Hubert Davis’ Heels.
In the end, he chose to commit to Bruce Pearl’s Auburn Tigers, and the decision surely paid off for his hoops career.
Kessler shined at Auburn, earning All-SEC honors and winning SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He started all 34 games he played in, averaging over 25 minutes per game. Kessler posted 11.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 4.6 blocks per game, shooting 61% from the field and 60% from the free-throw line. The interior rim protector was one of the most potent defenders in the nation, and projects as a shot-blocking forward who should take his game further outside as he gains experience and improves his shot with the Timberwolves.
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