Kessler ranks second league-wide with a 73.1 true-shooting percentage. Prior to the aforementioned 10-game span, Kessler was averaging just 5.0 points per game. There will be volatility, but the rookie is trending upward.
Walker Kessler was born in Atlanta, Georgia on July 26, 2001. In high school, he played for Woodward Academy in College Park, Georgia and averaged 17.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and 5.2 blocks per game during his senior season. He also led his high school squad to the Class 4A state title and was later named The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Player of the Year, Mr. Georgia Basketball and Georgia Gatorade Player of the Year. Kessler was also rewarded with a selection to the McDonald's All-American Game. As a five-star recruit, Kessler committed to play college basketball for coach Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels. On March 10, 2021, the seven-foot center posted 16 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocks during a 101-59 win over Notre Dame in the second round of the ACC Tournament. However, Kessler decided to transfer after his freshman season with the Tar Heels and chose Auburn over Gonzaga. On Dec. 29, 2021, Kessler recorded a triple-double with 16 points, 11 blocks and 10 rebounds against LSU. At the conclusion of the 2021-22 season, Kessler was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, a member of the All-SEC First Team and a Third Team All American. Regarded as one of the best shot blockers in his class, Kessler declared for the 2022 NBA Draft and chose to forgo his remaining college eligibility. Kessler was drafted by the Grizzlies with the 22nd overall pick.