Future Watch: 2021 NBA Draft Prospect – Jalen Suggs – Jalen Suggs was the first high school player ever to win Mr. Basketball and Mr. Football in the state of Minnesota in the same season and it seems likely that his skills in quarterbacking on the gridiron have carried over to the hardwood.
A starter for the varsity as far back as eighth grade, Suggs wasted little time establishing himself as a top talent, leading his team to the state basketball championship in his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons – and could well have earned four in a row but for the cancellation of the tournament in his senior season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Suggs further enhanced his reputation as one of the greatest prep level winners of his generation by earning gold for the USA at the FIBA Americas Under-16 Championship in 2017, the FIBA Under-17 World Cup in 2018 and the FIBA Under-19 World Cup in 2019 as well as earning McDonald’s All-American status in 2020. Additionally, Suggs led his football team to a state championship during his junior season – no doubt a great point of pride for his cousin, former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs.
As the highest-rated recruit ever to attend Gonzaga, Suggs entered to much anticipation and set the tone for the team’s undefeated regular season by scoring 24 points in his debut against Kansas on November 25, 2020. Another hugely-anticipated game loomed weeks later against #8 Iowa and Suggs again rose to the occasion with his highest-scoring game to date, 27 points.
Suggs contributed one of the greatest highlights in the history of the NCAA Tournament in the Final Four game against UCLA, banking in a 30-foot shot in overtime for the victory. And while Suggs would get a rare taste of defeat in the national championship game, he did score 22 points in the effort, ending the season with 14.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 4.5 APG.
The book on Suggs as he enters the 2021 NBA Draft is that his athleticism, court vision and shot selection are elite, with very good defensive capabilities to match. At 6’5, he offers rare versatility in terms of being able to play point guard on offense while defending a shooting guard, thus allowing an undersized shooting guard next to him offensively without compromising the defense. With continued consistency and improvement from the stripe and behind the three-point arc, Suggs could establish himself as a truly unstoppable force in the NBA in the 2020s.
Jalen Sugg’s first officially licensed NCAA cards will be found in 2021 Panini Chronicles Draft Picks Collegiate Basketball Cards, scheduled for release in early September, 2021.
Future Watch: 2021 NBA Draft Prospect – Jalen Suggs – Resources
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