Is there more that needs to be said about last night?
The Gonzaga freshman jumped on the table after taking three dribbles and hitting the game-winning shot in the Final Four round against UCLA. A lot of raw emotion and tears of joy followed.
“I’ve always wanted to run on the table like Kobe and D-Wade,” he said. “That is something that you practice on your mini hoop as a kid or at the gym, just messing around. To be able to do that is crazy.”
JALEN SUGGS SENDS GONZAGA TO THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP @ZagMBB #FinalFour pic.twitter.com/Ier1HcwjpH— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) April 4, 2021
Meanwhile, Dwyane Wade was watching the game and jumping on his own kitchen table.
I jumped on my kitchen table after you hit this shot bro https://t.co/rq6YUo53hI— DWade (@DwyaneWade) April 4, 2021
The Bruins pushed Saturday night’s Final Four matchup to overtime and gave a tough fight during the extra period. UCLA’s sophomore guard Johnny Juzang tied the game at 90 with three seconds left, but when Suggs got the ball in his hands, his coach, Mark Few had a good feeling the game was over.
“I knew we were good because it was in Jalen’s hands,” Few said. “He’s got that magical aura.”
Suggs laughed and said he is not sure if his coach really believed that shot was going to go in because he himself didn’t think it would. The Zags lived to see another day with their 93-90 win.
The Minnesota native is the highest-ranked recruit in the history of the Gonzaga men’s basketball program. He was the No. 6 prospect in ESPN’s Class of 2020 rankings and could’ve played almost anywhere he wanted, but he has never questioned his decision.
Suggs said he constantly gets asked about why he chose to play in Spokane, a small city in Washington, and in the West Coast Conference, which is not considered one of the elite in Division I basketball. The answer is not complicated — he just wanted to be at a place where people truly believed in his potential.
“That’s one of the main reasons why I came to this program. For the people and the culture,” Suggs said. “I knew Coach had the utmost trust in me and believed in me to make plays at all times.”
Few and Suggs were selected to talk on the CBS broadcast after the game. At that point, the player said he couldn’t find the words to described what had happened yet.
A couple minutes later, Suggs walked into the media room, sat on the chair and laughed in disbelief while he looked up at the ceiling for a few seconds. When the press conference started, Suggs said he had only seen the replay once or twice. He said he still couldn’t believe what had just happened but that it would probably hit him in the morning.
Gonzaga is entering the NCAA championship game with a perfect 31-0 record. When Suggs was asked what it felt to be one game away from a perfect season and winning it all, his answer was just about giving it “110%” and living in the moment.
“When dreams start to become realities and you’re able to experience those things, it’s special. Those are things you gotta cherish,” he said. “You’re never going to get another moment like this. You’re never going to be able to relieve this.”
The Zags were 14-point favorites against the Bruins. The result was obviously a lot closer than that, but no one seems to mind. The world of sports, not just college basketball, couldn't get enough of Suggs’ 30-foot-pull-up jumper.
Seattle Mariners pitcher Marco Gonzales and the rest of the crowd at T-Mobile Park in Washington reacted to the game-winning shot in the middle of their baseball game against the San Francisco Giants.
Congratulations, @ZagMBB!— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) April 4, 2021
Here's how @TMobilePark (and @MarcoGonzales_) reacted to the wild finish ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/OgN5dGtYlR
As expected during games like this, Twitter had a lot of reactions. LeBron James, Trae Young and Patrick Mahomes were among the many professional athletes tweeting about the Gonzaga star.
I said SUGGS about to hit this as soon as he crossed half court. GAME!!— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 4, 2021
Suggs, a gifted athlete in more than one sport, was asked where this experienced ranked among the best moments of his life. He said he used to always tell people that his favorite moment as an athlete was playing in his high school football championship game his senior year.
As of Saturday night, that was no longer the case.
“This skyrockets above that,” Suggs said. “I mean, it was nuts. I still can’t speak. I have so many things going on in my head. I just can’t believe that happened. I don’t think it’s really going to hit me until I wake up tomorrow. Tonight was special.”