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#pounditThursday, July 7, 2022

Bruce Pearl takes swipe at top NBA draft prospect

Bruce Pearl coaching Auburn

Feb 8, 2022; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Auburn Tigers head coach Bruce Pearl during the game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena. Arkansas won 80-76. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to his take on this year’s NBA Draft, Bruce Pearl is saying it with his chest.

The Auburn head basketball coach made some headlines this week with his comments about ex-Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren, who is projected to be one of the top picks. Appearing on “McElroy and Cubelic in the Morning,” Pearl gave a very harsh opinion about the seven-footer Holmgren.

“Chet’s intriguing, but so was Shawn Bradley,” said Pearl, referencing the 7-foot-6 former NBA center who went No. 2 overall in 1993 but fell short of expectations. “The NBA stands for ‘No Boys Allowed.’ And that body [of Holmgren’s] scares me. It just does.

“He goes knee-to-knee with the wrong guy, and he could get broken in half,” Pearl added about Holmgren. “Therefore, at the very top of the draft, I think I got to go with what I know, not what could potentially … someday be.”

Pearl is not an entirely objective observer since one of his former players, All-SEC forward Jabari Smith Jr., is competing with Holmgren to go No. 1 overall. But Pearl’s comments actually came when he was asked whom he would select No. 2 overall after Smith. Pearl then proceeded to share his take on Holmgren before saying that he would draft ex-Duke star Paolo Banchero with the second pick instead.

Granted, Pearl is probably right that Holmgren’s slender 190-pound frame is concerning for NBA teams. But having just turned 20, Holmgren still has plenty of time to bulk up and is certainly not lacking in confidence either.

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