MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - It may be NBA Draft night, but a lot of eyes remain on Minnehaha Academy High School sophomore Jalen Suggs as a 2020 prospect.
The point guard, who also plays with the Grassroots Hoops Club, helped lead Minnehaha Academy’s boys basketball team to a state championship this year as a freshman.
“I’m a very proud head coach,” said Lance Johnson, who’s coached the Minnehaha Academy’s boys basketball team for the past 30 years.
A few weeks ago he proved himself after he made the International Basketball Federation’s U.S. National Under-16 Team. The FIBA Americas U16 Championship led Jalen and 11 other talented players from across the country to Argentina, where they claimed a gold medal against eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.
“It was amazing being able to represent my country playing the game I love," Suggs said. "It's a real great feeling.”
Humble, dedicated and grounded, Jalen credits his consistent success to key players on his support team – his long-time best friends and teammates Kaden Johnson and Terry Lockett, as well as his full-time coach--and dad--Robert “Larry” Suggs.
“A lot of people call him an idiot savant of sports because as soon as we tell him something he goes out on the court and he does it,” Larry said. “I just instilled all the things I learned in college into him when he was five."
The proud father could soon realize more than his dream of seeing Jalen and his friends earn a Division I scholarship.
“God willing he stays healthy, the grades go good, he stays humble--there’s a high possibility people are saying that he could walk across the [NBA draft] stage one day,” Larry said.
Meanwhile, Jalen says he’s back in the gym ahead of the Under Armour Final Session and Fab 48–tournaments he’ll head to next month before hitting the books again in the fall.
While he won’t share yet which university he’d like to play for, Jalen is confident he’d like to study business while pursuing his dream of making it to the NBA.