NBA rookie Jalen Suggs stood out in Orlando Magic‘s surprising victory over the Chicago Bulls after throwing down a nasty slam over DeMar DeRozan.
His background might not be well-known, but the Magic shooting guard comes from one of the greatest families in the world of sports in the state of Minnesota over the last 50 years.
His father was a star in high school, and his cousin Rickey narrowly missed out on the ‘Mr. Basketball’ prize, one which is awarded to the best player of the year in the state.
In addition, his second cousin Terrell, who was named best defensive player in the NFL in 2011, is a two-time Super Bowl champion.
Scholarships in American football and basketball
Suggs began competing in school tournaments at the age of seven and soon caught the eye of every scout in the state. Back then, Suggs would equally enjoy playing basketball and American football, while he also tried his luck in hockey and football, where he also stood out.
His real objective was to pursue a career in either the NBA or the NFL. Soon he became a star in the state, leading his high school both on the court (2,945 points in his four seasons at Minnehaha Academy) and on the football field as a quarterback (2,000+ yards in his final season and 25 touchdowns).
Suggs‘ performances earned him both the Mr. Basketball and Mr. Football awards in the same season, being the first player in Minnesota to manage such an achievement.
The youngster had everything to succeed in either of the two sports but he finally turned down Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska, all of whom offered him a full scholarship as an American football player to join the Gonzaga Bulldogs, where he stayed for a season before landing in the NBA where he now is considered as one of the great candidates for Rookie of the Year prize.