Jalen Suggs, a 6-foot-5, 198-pound rising senior guard from Minneapolis (MN) Minnehaha Academy, is one of the top guards in the Midwest in the Class of 2020 and is considered the number one prospect from Minnesota in the class. He is ranked #10 in the Class of 2020 by ESPN and 12th by 24/7 Sports.
Suggs told ZagBlog that Minnesota, Gonzaga and Marquette were among his top schools Tuesday. He was also named as one of 18 finalists for USA Basketball’s Under 19 team Tuesday.
Suggs averaged 23-7 points per game as a sophomore as Minnehaha finished 29-2, winning their last 23 games. The Redhawks won their third consecutive Class AA title, defeating Minneapolis North 69-52 as he scored 24 points. He scored in double figures in every game. He had eight games of over 30 points and ten more of more than 20 points. Suggs had a season-high 39 in the team’s 97-85 loss to Class AAAA champion Hopkins.
Gopher Hole recently caught up with Suggs to talk about the latest on his recruitment and playing for USA basketball.
Gopher Hole: I know that you played with USA basketball the past couple of summers. What was the experience like playing at the USA Men’s Junior National April training camp in your own backyard (Bloomington Jefferson)?
Jalen Suggs: This was super fun. Having everyone come here and seeing these guys. I haven’t seen them since last summer. So, just being able to hang out, get up and down and play against the academy. A great experience. Great time and I can’t wait to get back with them in July.
Gopher Hole: Where is this team playing this summer?
Jalen Suggs: If I make the team, it will be in Greece. (for the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup June 29-July 7)
Gopher Hole: You’ve never been to Europe, I am assuming?
Jalen Suggs: No.
Gopher Hole: What would that experience be like?
Jalen Suggs: That would be super fun. Going to Argentina, in itself, was a great experience, but now going to Greece, over to Europe, where I have never been. I think that would be a great time as well as getting to play with these great guys.
Gopher Hole: What would it mean to maybe have the chance to play for a third gold medal?
Jalen Suggs: A blessing. A blessing. That is pretty much the only way that I can put it. I have been blessed with these talents and the abilities and the opportunity to win two and going to get a third would be great.
Gopher Hole: I know that everybody likes to rank things, but you have three state titles in basketball and one in football. If you had to rank those, what would the order be?
Jalen Suggs: The football one and the state championship from this year would definitely be tied at first and then the first state championship and the second championship.
Gopher Hole: You are moving up in basketball to Class AAA and might have to play DeLaSalle or a little tougher competition. Would that make it even more special to win a fourth state title at a little bit higher level?
Jalen Suggs: Yes and I think that will be more special just because that is what has been preached to us is that “we are winning in AA and we need to move up and that we are not playing any competition and that we aren’t earning our wins,” and that is definitely not true. We work hard all year. We play one of the toughest schedules in Minnesota, if not the toughest and we work our butts off for playoff time, so like I said, going up and winning that would be great, not only for me, not only for the team, but for the community.
Gopher Hole: Were you glad when you heard the news that you guys were moving up?
Jalen Suggs: I was. I was happy. I talked to Coach J about it and he asked me what I thought. What he thought my opinion was on it and I said “let’s do it. Why not.”
Gopher Hole: It worked out well that USA Basketball event was in your own backyard and you got to go to the Final Four. What was that like?
Jalen Suggs: It was super fun. I’ve never been there, so it was a good time seeing those teams and taking those. They all worked hard to get here. They all had a tough road, so it was a good time to just relax and be with my brothers.
Gopher Hole: I know that a few schools that are recruiting you came close to getting to the Final Four. Do you watch a lot of the NCAA Tournament?
Jalen Suggs: Yes, I watched pretty much all of it. (laughing)
Gopher Hole: Do you watch the teams that are recruiting you the hardest the most or do you watch everybody?
Jalen Suggs: No, I definitely pay attention to those teams, but I try to watch everybody. I am a basketball junkie and this is great basketball in March.
Gopher Hole: What is the latest on your recruitment right now?
Jalen Suggs: Still open. There are a couple of schools that I am really interested in right now. I would have to say it would have to be Gonzaga. Like I said, definitely, nothing is solidified. I haven’t cut my list at all. Everything is wide open.
Gopher Hole: Have you even thought about when you might try to narrow it down to maybe five or ten schools? Have you even thought that far yet?
Jalen Suggs: It would be pretty cool to narrow it down to about five, six after the USA basketball this summer and probably make my decision after football season.
Gopher Hole: Do you still like the recruiting process or are you starting to see how it can be overwhelming or too much at times?
Jalen Suggs: It is still a good time, being able to build relationships with these coaches, but it can definitely get overwhelming at times. I definitely can see why people say that.
Gopher Hole: What is the latest with the home state school?
Jalen Suggs: Minnesota, I talk to them a pretty good amount. I have been talking to Pitino. Coach Jeter a lot lately. They had a pretty good season. They had a big win over Louisville in the first round. A tough loss to a good Michigan State team that was in the Final Four. I love the way that they progressed this year, game over game and they are just on to some big things.
Gopher Hole: What is the latest on the football recruiting?
Jalen Suggs: It has been pretty quiet. Tennessee has been hitting me up a bit lately. They have been getting more involved.
Gopher Hole: Are you pretty much 100% committed to basketball or is there still some thought about football?
Jalen Suggs: There is still thought about it, but for right now, basketball is just more likely, I’d say that.