Allen Iverson was a stellar high school quarterback before moving into basketball. LeBron James was a wide receiver in St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron. Deion Sanders. Bo Jackson. There is a litany of examples of professional athletes who dominated several sports. The Orlando Magic now have their own dual sports star in Jalen Suggs.
Suggs was the fifth overall selection in the 2021 draft. He played basketball with Gonzaga, where he helped lead the Bulldogs to the 2020 NCAA National Championship Game.
He eventually settled on the right sport since the 6-foot-5-point guard is a multimillionaire by the age of 19, but there was another reality where Suggs showed his talents on the grate and college-level square .
Suggs was a 247Sports Five Star basketball recruit from Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was named Gatorade Minnesota Player of the Year as a senior after averaging 23.5 points per game in addition to 7.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 3.8 steals on his Gonzaga basketball profile.
He was the top ranked recruit to ever sign with the Bulldogs and backed it up with averaging 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals during his only season at Spokane.
The Zags were number 1 in the country for much of the 2020 season before falling in the national title game against Baylor. Suggs’ stats – as well as his leadership, even as a freshman – was a major reason for this.
But basketball wasn’t the only sport that shone at the top of the lottery.
The Magic’s new point guard was also named Mr. Football in his senior year in Minnesota and became the first player in state history to win both Mr. Basketball and Mr. Football Awards.
Suggs was a three-star recruit as a dual threat quarterback. He threw more than 2,200 yards with 25 touchdowns and ran nearly 1,000 yards and 12 more scores as a senior. According to his Gonzaga biography, the five-time West Coast Conference Freshman of the Week also played defense – he picked up nine passes, two of which he took back to score points.
Suggs had scholarship offers to play soccer from Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan State and a handful of other college football blue-blooded. He considered doing both sports, but wanted to stay close to home.
But he never had the chance. Suggs wanted to practice both sports at the University of Minnesota. He was supposed to play soccer for the Gophers and head coach PJ Fleck, but oddly enough, he didn’t get much interest from Minnesota’s basketball coach Richard Pitino at the time.
Suggs described his recruiting experience on the Road Trippin ‘podcast:
What would have happened to the new Magic starter if he had stayed home and played football must remain a mystery. Even so, Orlando must be satisfied with the way things went.
The 2020 Consensus All-American is unlikely to question its decision either, with more than $ 6.5 million (at least) to be deposited into its checking account over the next four years, according to Spotrac.
Suggs is expected to be a franchise-changing gamer with his athletic skills, demeanor, and leadership skills. He’s already proven it at the highest levels of college basketball.
It’s been a while since the Magic had championship ambitions. Perhaps the former two-sport star can help a troubled organization get back to that level.