Minneapolis/St. Paul – The Minnesota Timberwolves tonight announced the team has acquired the draft rights to the 22nd overall selection center Walker Kessler and the 29th pick guard TyTy Washington from the Memphis Grizzlies in exchange for the 19th selection forward Jake LaRavia and a future second round pick.
Kessler, a 7-1 center, averaged 11.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.6 blocks per game as a sophomore at Auburn University, earning 2021-22 National Defensive Player of the Year honors by Naismith and NABC. Last season, Kessler led the NCAA in blocks and set a single season record with 155 blocks, while ranking second in blocks per game. On Dec. 29, 2021, he posted 16 points, 10 rebounds and 11 blocks against LSU and on Feb. 12, 2022 he finished with 12 points, 12 blocks and 11 rebounds against Texas A&M, becoming the only player in the nation to record two triple-doubles. Following his first triple-double performance against LSU, Kessler was named USBWA/Oscar Robertson National Player of the Week (Jan. 2). The 21-year-old was named the 2021-22 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and All-SEC First Team pick.
Prior to transferring to Auburn ahead of the 2022-2021 season, Kessler attended University of North Carolina where he tallied the most blocks by a freshman in a game with eight on Mar. 10, 2021 against Notre Dame. His eight blocks are good for the most blocks in an ACC Tournament Game and third most blocked shots in a single game in UNC history.
The Atlanta native was named the 2020 Gatorade High School Player of the Year, 2020 McDonald’s All-American Game and Nike Hoop Summit and Mr. Basketball in Georgia. He led Woodward Academy to the school’s first men’s basketball state title in its 120-year history. Kessler tallied 2000+ points, 1100+ rebounds and 500+ blocks over the course of his career.
Washington averaged 12.5 points, 3.9 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game in his one season at the University of Kentucky. The 21-year-old freshman led the SEC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.35-to-1) and ranked ninth in the SEC in assists. On Jan. 8, 2022, Washington dished out a league-high 17 assists against the University of Georgia, breaking John Wall’s single-game assist record at Kentucky. The five-time SEC Player of the Week was named to the 2021-2022 All-SEC Second Team and All-Freshman Team.