Minnehaha Academy’s Jalen Suggs won his second gold medal with a U.S. national team on Sunday night, adding to an already successful summer of international hoops for Minnesota prospects.
The 6-4 junior guard finished with nine points, five rebounds, a team-best three steals and two assists in 18 minutes as his team defeated France 95-52 in the gold medal game for the Under-17 World Cup title in Argentina.
Suggs averaged 8.7 points, 2.7 assists, 2.4 rebounds and a team-high 3.3 steals for Team USA, which finished 7-0 in the tournament.
The five-star prospect in the 2020 class also won a gold medal with this same group in the U16 FIBA Americas championship in 2017. He made the U17 team last month despite being slowed during tryouts in Colorado with injuries.
“This year it means a lot more to me,” Suggs said after training camp. “I sat out some practices, but coaches believed in me and wanted me to stay. The practices were extremely competitive. Nobody took plays off. ... When we play as one, there’s nobody that can stop us.”
Suggs said this was the most talented team he’s ever played on. Team USA won by an average margin of 53.7 points in the U17 World Cup this year. Tournament MVP Jalen Green (No. 1 player in 2020) and big man Vernon Carey (No. 1 player in 2019) were named to the all-tournament team.
“It’s a blessing,” Suggs said last month. “There’s nothing better than to come out on the court with the other best guys in the country, being able to play the game that you love so much, especially having USA across your chest.”
Suggs, who will start the AAU season again Wednesday with Grassroots Sizzle at the Under Armour Association Challenge in Atlanta, wasn’t the only Minnesota high school baller playing for Team USA this summer.
Last month, Rochester John Marshall senior forward Matthew Hurt averaged 14 points and 5.3 rebounds as a member of the gold medal team at the U18 FIBA Americas Championship in Canada.
Hopkins junior guard Paige Bueckers was also MVP of the Spokane Hoopfest last month playing for the U.S. Youth Olympic Games women’s 3-on-3 team. Bueckers starts practice this week with the U17 World Cup women’s team in Washington D.C.