Oklahoma State star Cade Cunningham is the most likely player to go No. 1 overall in the upcoming 2021 NBA Draft. Michigan State‘s Tom Izzo says that if he was running the team with that top pick, he’d go with another star freshman guard: Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs.
Suggs was one of the only players to have a decent game against Baylor on Monday night. He scored 22 points on 15 field goals, hitting a pair of threes and added three assists and two steals in the 86-70 national championship loss.
For the year, which is expected to be his only one at the college level, he averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. He shot 50.3/33.7/76.1 on the year, and averaged 28.9 minutes per game for Mark Few’s impressive team. He’s widely expected to be a high draft pick, though No. 1 overall doesn’t sound overly likely.
“I just don’t know Cade enough, but I’d have a hard time, if I was in the NBA, not taking Suggs,” Izzo told ESPN’s Mike Greenberg on his radio show today. “Anytime you can get a point guard that has intellect and he has size and speed for his position, and the toughness to play two sports and excel in both, I think I’d be taking him.”
— 247Sports (@247Sports) April 6, 2021
Izzo, who recruited Jalen Suggs to Michigan State before he signed with the Zags, loves his history of starring in multiple sports. He was Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball and Mr. Football, and had major offers on the gridiron, but ultimately opted to focus on hoops.
“I don’t know Cade Cunningham as well. I recruited Jalen a little bit,” Izzo said. “But you know me, Greeny, you’ve known me for a long time. Anybody who can play two sports, I think, gets a leg up. I’m not saying the kid from Oklahoma State couldn’t, but when you’re MVP in your state in football as a quarterback and the most valuable player in basketball — we had a kid, Gary Harris, was a very good football player. Even though everybody wants to specialize, I think those guys that can play two, that will bode well for him at the next level.
Suggs put a stamp on his college career over the weekend, hitting a nearly half-court buzzer-beater in overtime to knock off UCLA in the Final Four. That shot, which is one of the best in Final Four history, sent Gonzaga to the national championship.
They were not able to complete the undefeated season, but there is little doubt that Suggs is one of the best young guards that could be in this year’s NBA Draft.