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Chet Holmgren remembers "going crazy" with members of his Minnehaha Academy team watching former teammate Jalen Suggs' now iconic half-court shot for Gonzaga that beat UCLA in the Final Four last season.

"We talked about hopefully one day playing on that stage," said Holmgren of Suggs, who became an instant NCAA tournament legend as a freshman before jumping to the NBA.

After falling to Baylor on the cusp of a historic undefeated season last year, Gonzaga reloads for another title hunt with another high-profile freshman from Minnesota.

Holmgren is a lot like Suggs and Connecticut's Paige Bueckers were last year, locals entering college hoops surrounded by sky-high expectations and major hype. Bueckers won the women's national player of the year award. Suggs was an All-America and picked fifth in the NBA draft by the Orlando Magic.

Holmgren, a 7-foot do-it-all Minneapolis native, is now the top NBA prospect on the nation's preseason No. 1 team, and he has a blueprint to success.

"Watching [Suggs] do it last year and excel the way he did [at Gonzaga] was definitely a lot of fun," Holmgren said. "I'm very excited about learning the ins and outs and working hard to have another successful season."

Holmgren will have more eyes on him than arguably any player in college hoops, but he's one of many Minnesota natives representing the state on contending teams across the country.

Duke and North Carolina, maybe the top rivalry in the sport, will have Minnesotans on both sides. Champlin Park's Theo John has a front row seat in Hall of Famer Mike Krzyzewski last season at Duke. Prior Lake's Dawson Garcia and Hopkins' Kerwin Walton are potential starters for first-year North Carolina coach Hubert Davis, who took over for legend Roy Williams.

Defending champion Baylor could have two Minnesotans in its rotation this season with Park Center's Dain Dainja and East Ridge's Kendall Brown, who was a McDonald's All-America with Holmgren last season.

"The list is pretty long at this point of great basketball players who have come out of Minnesota," Holmgren said. "It's great to see Minnesota so well represented. So I want to carry that on."

Suggs was the highest rated recruit to ever sign with Gonzaga until Holmgren, who was the consensus No. 1 player in the 2021 class. The son of former Gophers center Dave Holmgren also became the first Minnesota native to earn Gatorade national player of the year honors in June.

The state has produced its share of talented big men, including Gophers great Kevin McHale. But Holmgren's game resembles the modern day 7-footer with the ability stretch the floor from three-point range and take opponents off the dribble.

Holmgren's first real claim to fame was scoring on Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry in a summer camp two years ago after beating him to the basket with a crossover move. When did he develop those perimeter skills?

"I'd say I had a lot of help from an early age with coaches and my dad," Holmgren said. "They all helped me kind of have a vision of the bigger picture and teach me a lot of those skills that helped me transition more to the outside and not get stuck in the paint."

In Gonzaga's exhibition win against Eastern Oregon, Holmgren had 17 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field. He displayed his wide-ranging ability. In one sequence, he blocked a shot and dribbled the ball coast-to-coast past a few defenders for a dunk.

Suggs knows better than anyone what type of generational talent Holmgren is — and won't be surprised at all if his buddy gets the Zags back to college basketball's biggest stage.

"He's a guy who is competitive," Suggs said. "I'm a super competitive person and I'd do anything for the win while I'm playing. Chet developed that mindset as we were growing up together and playing."