Suggs: I would've joined Minnesota if the program 'showed interest'

Jamie Schwaberow / NCAA Photos / Getty

One of the most impressive freshman campaigns in recent college basketball memory almost took place at Minnesota.

As Jalen Suggs detailed on the "Road Trippin'" podcast, the explosive Orlando Magic guard would've chosen the Golden Gophers over Gonzaga if Minnesota had more actively recruited him.

"Sophomore year going into junior year, I am ready to commit to Minnesota," said Suggs, who was Minnesota's Mr. Basketball winner in 2020. "They didn't come to recruit, they didn't come to many games, they weren't at practice."

The Saint Paul, Minnesota, native also said Richard Pitino, who was the Golden Gophers' head coach at the time, could've helped his program land a top-10 recruit.

"I never really had too much interaction with Pitino. ... If he would have came a little more, just showed interest like he actually wanted me to be there, then I think it would have been easy," Suggs added. "I honestly would have chopped it up and committed."

Instead, Suggs, who Orlando drafted fifth overall in July, led the near-undefeated Bulldogs to an NCAA championship game berth and hit a game-winner that lives in March Madness glory. Pitino was fired shortly after that season, his eighth with the school.

Following Suggs' comments, McKinley Wright and Matthew Hurt - Minnesota's Mr. Basketball winners in 2017 and 2019, respectively - both voiced their previous interest in playing college basketball for the Golden Gophers.

Suggs, Wright, and Hurt each made an all-conference first team in 2020-21, something a Minnesota player hasn't done since 2017.

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Suggs: I would've joined Minnesota if the program 'showed interest'
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