Minnesota basketball fans can see Jalen Suggs live and in person on Nov. 1 when the Orlando Magic — who selected Suggs No. 5 overall in the NBA Draft after a standout freshman season at Gonzaga — play the Timberwolves at Target Center.
But a recent Suggs appearance on the Road Trippin' podcast suggests Minnesota fans could have seen a lot more of Suggs over the last year if things had gone a little differently with the way he was recruited at Minnehaha Academy.
It helps to remember that Suggs was a legitimate two-sport star in football and basketball and won Mr. Football and Mr. Basketball in the state as a senior.
"Sophomore year going into junior year, I am ready to commit to Minnesota," Suggs said on the podcast. "I'm like, 'I'm ready to go, ready to do both sports. I'll play with P.J. (Fleck). You know, the basketball I'll do it. ... I just need a little more from the basketball side."
Um, a little more from the basketball side?
"It was, they didn't come to recruit," Suggs continued. They didn't come to many games. Like, they weren't at practice. ... I never really had too much interaction with (former head coach Richard) Pitino. He's cool. Like the times we did talk, he's good people. But ... if he would have just came a little more and showed interest like he actually wanted me to be there, then I think it would have been easy. I honestly would have chopped it up and probably committed my late junior year."
You can watch the whole exchange here.
Instead, of course, Suggs waited until midway through his senior year to commit to Gonzaga — where went and had a dynamite freshman year playing basketball. A half-court buzzer-beater in the national semifinals increased his draft stock, and Orlando ended up making him a lottery pick.
Just how realistic the Suggs-to-Minnesota notion really was probably depends on whether he could have played both sports at the U and how much of what Suggs just said was revisionist history.
But his comments sure don't speak well for Pitino's in-state recruiting, a factor that led to him being replaced by Ben Johnson.