Jalen Suggs is arguably Gonzaga's most important player, showing up in a vital role all season for the No. 1 Zags. But the freshman is now on a much bigger stage. With much more at stake. And he's not alone.
Suggs proudly represents the state of Minnesota in his quest for an NCAA title this year, along with many others.
As their dancing soon gets underway, take a look at Suggs and several other Minnesotans to watch in the 2021 NCAA men'sbasketball tournament.
JALEN SUGGS, GONZAGA
Freshman guard, 6-4 • High school: Minnehaha Academy
Suggs plays his best basketball when the game is biggest. That was evident this season with 27 points vs. No. 3 Iowa, 24 points vs. No. 6 Kansas and a 21-point average in three victories vs. BYU. Suggs, who is a projected lottery pick, leads the Zags in assists (4.5) and steals (2.0).
MCKINLEY WRIGHT IV, COLORADO
Senior guard, 6-0 • High school: Champlin Park
Wright is already the best guard in Buffaloes history since former NBA standout Chauncey Billups. But making a run in his first NCAA tournament would be a perfect send-off for his college career. The three-time All-Pac-12 first-team player leads Colorado in points (15.5), assists (5.6) and steals (1.1).
JERICHO SIMS, TEXAS
Senior forward, 6-10 • High school: Cristo Rey Jesuit
Perseverance paid off for this Minneapolis native in Austin. Sims quietly did the dirty work for the Longhorns in his career. Lately he's emerged as a go-to guy as well, averaging 15 points, eight rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.3 steals in his past four games, including three double-doubles.
KERWIN WALTON, NORTH CAROLINA
Freshman guard, 6-5 • High school: Hopkins
The Tar Heels are better with Walton starting. It took several games into the season to figure that out, but it's helped Roy Williams' team bounce back this year after going 14-19 a year ago. The sharpshooting Minnesotan is averaging 8.2 points and shooting 41.5% from three-point range, which is on pace to set the freshman program record.
BRAD DAVISON, WISCONSIN
Senior guard, 6-4 • High school: Maple Grove
The most experienced player on the Badgers squad, Davison didn't mind taking a sidekick role to D'Mitrik Trice this year in the backcourt. But he's recently been asked to carry more of the scoring load, with six double-figure efforts in the past seven games.
NATE REUVERS, WISCONSIN
Senior forward, 6-11 • High school: Lakeville North
The Badgers are known for big men stretching the floor, but Reuvers also set the school's career blocks record. More consistency from him could be the key to Wisconsin advancing. He reunited in Madison with ex-high school teammate Tyler Wahl, a sophomore forward.
DRAKE DOBBS, LIBERTY
Freshman guard, 6-3 • High school: Eden Prairie
After a slow start to his first year in college basketball, Dobbs has become one of the guards coach Ritchie McKay trusts the most. He scored his first career double-figure game with 11 points vs. Kennesaw State in the Atlantic Sun tournament quarterfinals.
JACOB HUTSON, LOYOLA CHICAGO
Freshman center, 6-10 • High school: Edina
Hutson was expected to redshirt this season, but decided to play with the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility during the pandemic. He averaged 3.6 points in 14 games playing behind All-America center and Missouri Valley Player of the Year Cameron Krutwig.