Jalen Suggs’ parents not surprised by his March Madness heroics
Jalen Suggs has chance at magical Gonzaga encore
Gonzaga's bid for perfection still alive after instant classic
UCLA's only 'edge' may give it a chance to beat Gonzaga
Scott Drew's incredible Baylor rebuild has its validation
Fran Fraschilla rooting for coaching friends in battle for Final Four vindication
Of course if your son had hit a miracle shot to send his school to the national championship game against Baylor on Monday night, you would be counting the hours until tipoff, too.
“I can’t wait,” Molly Manley said.
She is the mother of Jalen Suggs, and when you ask her if she would like to see the ball in his point guard hands at the end of Monday night, at the end of his freshman season and the end of his Gonzaga career under coach Mark Few before the NBA comes calling, she laughed and said: “I don’t want the game to be close. I trust whoever Few puts on the floor, that they will get the job done if it comes to it.
“But I KNOW that Jalen will.”
When Jalen Suggs banked his running 40-footer in overtime to beat UCLA, her reaction was understandably more pronounced than most of the rest of the sports world: “I just kept saying, ‘Oh my god, I’m gonna die!’ ” she told The Post.
On the other hand, it didn’t come as a terrible surprise to her, to her husband, to anyone who has witnessed this child prodigy turned phenom.
“I’m his dad,” Larry Suggs said, “so I know it was going in.”
Jalen Suggs was born for this moment.
“There was always a ball in our house,” Molly said. “He would lift it, he would roll it, he would kick it, he would throw it. We bought his first hoop when he was 9 months old. We still have it.”
Jalen was 2 when LeBron James was a rookie.
“He always liked LeBron,” Molly said. “He was a little guy when LeBron came into the league. We watched ‘More Than A Game’ probably more times than we could ever count. Like if it was a VHS, we would have worn it out. He would watch it every night when he went to bed. For years, he would just watch it.”
The boy was offered a scholarship … as a sixth grader.
“Milwaukee-Wisconsin came over looking for some high school talent,” Larry Suggs said, “and they stumbled on Jalen that weekend.”
Jalen would become the first in Minnesota history to win Mr. Football and Mr. Basketball awards in the same season. He was a dual-threat quarterback who played cornerback and free safety as well.
“Put it this way — I call him an idiot savant in sports — there’s nothing that the kid can’t do sports-wise,” Larry Suggs said. “He just makes remarkable plays all the time, and that’s why people come in to watch him play football ’cause you never knew what he was gonna do at any age level. Same thing basketball-wise.”
The kid was fun to watch, all right.
“I really miss watching him play football,” Molly said. “If he needs to throw a long pass, he’ll throw a long pass. If he needs to run, he’ll run. He loves playing defense when he plays football. So the first two years of high school, he didn’t play any defense, and that was tough for my whole family, because we knew he could make an impact. The coaches were a little nervous, didn’t want him to get hurt.”
Jalen has always hated to lose more than he loves to win. Molly referenced a sudden-death overtime in the state championship his senior year, when Jalen was at cornerback for the ill-fated two-point conversion.
“He hurt his knee right before halftime,” she said. “They checked him out, and he said he was gonna play. I think he said it was really tight, so it loosened up as he kinda played more and more throughout the second half. I don’t even know if he could call it inches or centimeters, millimeters … he grazed the ball, he just didn’t get enough of his finger on it. Had he gotten more of his finger on it, they would have won the championship. That’s probably one of the toughest games. And we’ve never ever watched that game again.”
Larry Suggs, who was his son’s first basketball and football coach, cites another example.
“Eighth grade we lost a section championship to go to state, and I think he dropped like 29 points. He had blood on his shorts, subbed out, I think we were up six points, couldn’t put the shorts back on quick enough,” the father recalled.
There has been much more winning than losing for Jalen Suggs.
Molly: “He’s played with and against [UCLA’s] Johnny Juzang a bunch, like at USA Basketball he played with and against Evan Mobley … when you’re on the court, it doesn’t matter. He is trying to win the game. Off the court, it’s sorta like a switch flip, and he’s just regular laid back … regular Jalen.”
Larry Suggs: “Inside that rectangle that you call a basketball court, he’s all business. He don’t mess around. After game’s over, he’s back to being a regular normal kid playing video games, hanging out and goofing around.”
Through all the hype and hoopla, Jalen Suggs has remained grounded.
“He’s just Jalen,” Molly said. “When he comes home, he’s gotta do the dishes, clean his room, pick up the trash, that kinda stuff. He’s just a regular kid. We’ve been purposeful about making sure that he just stays a regular kid.”
Ask Larry Suggs who his son reminds him of on the court, and he says: “Nobody … I’ve been coaching for 30 years and I can’t pinpoint who he’s like even in the city of St.Paul. He’s just that unique.”
Father, mother and sisters Jennica and Jaelle were in the Lucas Oil stands on Monday night. None of them could wait.
“All he does is win,” Larry Suggs said.
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article