Jalen Suggs was a highly touted prospect coming out of high school. He had offers from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Michigan State and Ohio State but chose to attend the University of Central Florida after his father convinced him it would be a better fit for his career. Despite not getting recruited by UCF, Suggs still managed to become an All-American in both basketball and baseball during his time at the school.

Before focusing his skills on basketball, Allen Iverson was a great high school quarterback. At St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, LeBron James was a wide receiver. Sanders, Deion. Bo Jackson is a well-known musician. There are many instances of professional athletes who have excelled in a variety of sports. Jalen Suggs, a dual-sport standout for the Orlando Magic, has joined the team.

In the 2021 draft, Suggs was the fifth overall selection. He was a basketball player at Gonzaga, where he helped the Bulldogs reach the NCAA National Championship Game in 2020.

The 6-foot-5 point guard is already a multi-millionaire at the age of 19, but there was another world in which Suggs demonstrated his abilities on the gridiron and on the court at the collegiate level.

Last season, Jalen Suggs was one of the greatest players in college basketball.

Jalen Suggs of the Orlando Magic celebrates after hitting a buzzer beater in the 2020 NCAA Final Four with the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Jalen Suggs of the Orlando Magic celebrates after hitting a buzzer beater in the 2020 NCAA Final Four with the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Gonzaga Bulldogs’ Jalen Suggs, a first-round draft choice of the Orlando Magic, celebrates with teammates after hitting a game-winning 3-point goal in overtime to beat UCLA Bruins 93-90 in the 2021 NCAA Final Four. | Getty Images/Andy Lyons

Suggs was a five-star basketball prospect out of Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, Minnesota, according to 247Sports. According to his Gonzaga basketball biography, he earned the Gatorade Minnesota Player of the Year as a senior, averaging 23.5 points per game, 7.3 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 3.8 steals.

During his lone season in Spokane, he was the highest-ranked recruit ever to sign with the Bulldogs, averaging 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.9 steals.

For the duration of the 2020 season, the Zags were rated No. 1 in the USA until losing in the national championship game against Baylor. Suggs’ numbers, as well as his leadership, even as a freshman, were key factors.

However, basketball was not the only sport in which the lottery selection excelled.

Suggs was a top quarterback recruit in the nation and was on the verge of becoming a two-sport athlete.

In his senior year, the Magic’s new point guard was also awarded Mr. Football in Minnesota, making him the only athlete in state history to earn both Mr. Basketball and Mr. Football awards.

As a dual-threat quarterback, Suggs was a three-star recruit. As a senior, he passed for over 2,200 yards and 25 touchdowns while also rushing for over 1,000 yards and 12 more scores. The five-time West Coast Conference Freshman of the Week also played defense, according to his Gonzaga profile, intercepting nine passes, two of which he returned for touchdowns.

Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Michigan State, and a few more college football powerhouses offered Suggs football scholarships. He contemplated participating in both sports, but he preferred to remain near to home.

But he was never given the opportunity. Suggs aspired to play both football and basketball at the University of Minnesota. He was scheduled to play football for the Gophers and head coach PJ Fleck, but Richard Pitino, Minnesota’s basketball coach at the time, showed little interest in him.

On the Road Trippin’ Podcast, Suggs recounted his recruitment experience:

“Now that I’m in my junior year, I’m ready to commit to Minnesota.” I’m all set to leave. I’m prepared to participate in both sports. I’m going to play with P.J. I’ll handle the basketball. I just need a little amount. On the basketball side, I need a bit more.

“They didn’t come to recruit,” says the narrator. They didn’t show up for several of the games. They didn’t show up for practice.”

Jalen Suggs talks about being recruited by the University of Minnesota as a two-way athlete.

Fortunately for Orlando, Suggs’ path led him to basketball.

What would have happened to the Magic’s new starting point guard if he had remained at home and played football instead? Whatever the case may be, Orlando must be pleased with the outcome.

According to Spotrac, the 2020 Consensus All-bank American’s account will have more than $6.5 million (at least) deposited over the next four years, so he’s not second-guessing his choice.

With his on-court athletic ability, attitude, and leadership skills, Suggs is expected to be a franchise-altering player. At the highest levels of college basketball, he has already shown himself.

The Magic haven’t had championship ambitions in a long time. Perhaps the former two-sport star can assist a struggling team in regaining that status.

RELATED: Aaron Gordon’s New Deal Shows the Orlando Magic Are Finally Making the Right Decisions

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