Walker Kessler is officially a member of the Utah Jazz.
The No. 22 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft signed with the Jazz on Saturday.
The terms of the deal were not released, per team policy.
“We are excited about Walker Kessler,” Jazz general manger Justin Zanik said. “As a first round pick and a center who put up some really good numbers both offensively and defensively for a top program in Auburn, we are excited to get him into our developmental program.”
Kessler was drafted by the Memphis Grizzlies last month, and his rights were acquired on draft night by the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves then included Kessler, along with Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Jarred Vanderbilt and Leandro Bolmaro, in the blockbuster trade that netted Gobert.
Listed at 7-foot-1, 245 pounds, the 20-year old Kessler was one of the most highly touted prep prospects in the country coming out of Woodward Academy in 2020.
Per 247 Sports, Kessler was the top-rated prospect in Georgia and the 22nd-best overall prospect in the country.
Kessler committed to and attended North Carolina out of high school where he struggled to make much of an impact, appearing in 29 games and averaging 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game, playing 8.8 minutes per contest.
Following his freshman season, Kessler transferred to Auburn and as a sophomore — in what became his final collegiate season — he had a breakout campaign, averaging 11.4 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.6 blocks (tied for first in the NCAA) and 1.1 steals per game, in 34 games played.
Kessler was named to the 2021-22 All-SEC First Team and All-SEC Defensive Team, and also earned 2021-22 SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors. Additionally, he was a third team Associated Press All-American and the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Defensive Player of the Year.
A native of Newnan, Georgia, Kessler becomes the second center under contract for the Jazz, along with former Jazz first round pick Udoka Azubuike.