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NBA Draft 2021: Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs goes 5th overall to Orlando Magic

Suggs is going from a powerhouse to something that is extremely not that

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Baylor vs Gonzaga Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Jalen Suggs is headed to the Orlando Magic, who took him with the fifth overall pick on Thursday in the 2021 NBA Draft.

The 20-year-old spent one season with the Zags before declaring for the draft. That one year was enough to show how valuable he can be. Suggs is known for his competitive spirit and high basketball IQ. The 6’4 guard is athletic and versatile, and his skills should easily translate to the NBA level.

Suggs was considered one of the most well-rounded guards in the draft. He can contribute on offense with his play-making abilities and shooting skills, while also helping on defense with his anticipation skills.

As a freshman, Suggs shot at 50.3% from the field while averaging 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists through 30 games, all of those as a starter. He was part of a Zags roster that nearly completed a perfect season, with the one blemish coming from a loss to Baylor during the NCAA Tournament championship game.

Suggs was named the West Coast Conference Newcomer of the Year, which wasn’t a surprise since he was named WCC Freshman of the Week nine times throughout the season. He was also named the WCC Tournament Most Outstanding Player and made it into the WCC All-Tournament Team.

It is clear he likes competition and thrives under pressure. His most memorable moment as a college player was when he hit the game-winning three-pointer against UCLA in the national semifinals.

Suggs worked with Olin Simplis, one of the most respected trainers on the west coast, to prepare for the draft. ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg compared Suggs to Jason Kidd due to his ability to score, pass and rebound.