Former Dayton Flyers center DaRon Holmes II is expected to go in the top half of the upcoming NBA Draft. As one of the top big men in his class, the 21-year-old has reportedly been the apple of the Oklahoma City Thunder's eye.

The club feels so strongly about Holmes that they might have privately promised to take him, via ClutchPoints' Brett Siegel.

“Many around the league are wondering if Sam Presti and the Thunder have their eyes on a big man with this 12th overall pick,” Siegel wrote. “DaRon Holmes II isn't viewed by many as a lottery talent in this draft, but he has been extremely impressive in his workouts. Some are wondering if the Thunder have given a promise to Holmes, especially after he canceled workouts with [other] teams.”

Siegel had Oklahoma City selecting the 6-foot-10, 235-pounder 12th overall in his latest mock draft. This would pair him with All-Rookie Chet Holmgren in the front court, creating a potential Twin Towers duo.

Is this supposed “promise” a smokescreen, or is Holmes going to the Thunder a foregone conclusion?

The Thunder are known for giving draft promises

Dayton Flyers forward DaRon Holmes II (15) looks to pass against Arizona Wildcats guard Caleb Love (2) during the first half in the second round of the 2024 NCAA Tournament at Vivint Smart Home Arena-Delta Center.
© Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

This isn't the first time that Oklahoma City has supposedly told a player they'd pick him before the draft, via Sports Illustrated's Rylan Stiles.

“A recent example of this is Caleb Houstan out of the University of Michigan in the 2022 NBA Draft,” Stiles said. “Former league executive and respected NBA insider John Hollinger reported that the Thunder's promise had caused Houstan to back out of the NBA Draft Combine that year.”

However, the Thunder didn't keep their word. Presti and company selected Chet Holmgren, Jalen Williams, and Peyton Watson in the first round, clearing the way for the Orlando Magic to take Houstan 32nd overall. This shows that even if the “promise” rumors are legitimate, it doesn't guarantee what will happen.

With that being said, Oklahoma City did keep its promise with Michigan forward Mitch McGary in 2014, via Hollinger.

“Michigan forward Caleb Houstan was notably absent from the week’s proceedings [2022 NBA Draft Combine], with many league insiders suspecting he had a promise from a team in return for shutting down his draft process,” Hollinger said. “Suspicion immediately went to the Thunder, given their surplus of picks and long history of making their draft pick in April. Houstan wouldn’t even be the first Michigan guy they did this with. (Hello, Mitch McGary!)”

Holmes would immediately fit in as a backup to Holmgren, with the potential to develop into an All-Star big in his own right. Whether or not the rumors are true, it's easy to see why the Thunder would be interested.

“Oklahoma City's reputation around the league is one that gives out draft promises, which makes for easy speculation and fodder,” Stiles continued. “To this point, that is all this report is about Holmes II and the Thunder. However, the pairing would make sense despite the lofty range.”

Will Presti and company follow through on their promise this time, or will they leave Holmes in the dust?