Former Auburn Tiger Walker Kessler has learned real quick that life in the NBA can change in the blink of an eye. Just three days after he was introduced by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kessler was dealt to the Utah Jazz, along with four other players plus draft picks, in exchange for their shot-swatting center Rudy Gobert. Since the big man was officially inked as a member of the Jazz on Sunday, he took to Twitter to share a message with the fan base.
The 7-foot-1, 245-pounder made a huge jump in improvement from his freshman year with the North Carolina Tar Heels to his sophomore year with the Tigers. He averaged 11.4 points per game, 8.1 rebounds per game, and 4.6 blocks per game. The gifted shot blocker won the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year after he shattered Auburn’s single-season blocks record with 144 total blocks on the season. Following the season, Kessler announced that he would be turning pro and entering the 2022 NBA Draft.
In becoming the first Auburn player to ever bring home the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Award, Kessler beat out some incredibly talented players in college basketball. He beat out Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren, Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe, and Duke’s Mark Williams for the annual award.
Kessler was highly thought of as a high school prospect and he showed exactly why last year
Coming out of high school, Kessler was rated as the No. 4 center prospect in America, according to the On3 Consensus Rankings and was rated as the No. 21 overall prospect in America for the 2020 recruiting class. It’s refreshing to see a player live up to their vast potential and the gifted big man showed last season exactly why he was so highly thought of coming out of Woodward Academy (Fairburn, Georgia). It’ll be exciting to watch his career continue to progress in the NBA.
On3’s Griffin McVeigh also contributed to this article.