Zags' Jalen Suggs on NBA Draft status: 'I feel like I have a lot to offer coming in'


In early April, Gonzaga freshman Jalen Suggs became the first player in over four decades to make an NCAA Tournament semifinal buzzer-beater. In late July, the 19-year-old point guard will become the school's highest-ranked recruit selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.

Although a handful of prospects are worthy of the first overall selection in this year's draft, Suggs is a consensus top-five lottery pick. And he believes his athleticism, intelligence, and play-making ability should immediately translate to the pro level.

"That's what I'm working toward," Suggs told the Tiki and Tierney show on Monday. "I've been playing up against older guys my entire life, and now it's on another scale, being with NBA vets and older guys in your locker room, guys who are first-team All-NBA, and things of that nature. But I feel like I have a lot to offer coming in, as far as the experiences that I've gone through and my talents. So, I can't wait to experience the whole draft night -- that's going to be a dream come true -- and get to whichever team selects me and get to work...

"Me being a competitor, I kind of want [the NCAA championship game loss to Baylor] back. That's one I'll always wish I could run back... Because that's something I've dreamed of as well, just as much as walking across the stage and getting to the NBA. So, I thought about [returning to Gonzaga] a little bit. But at the end of the day, the position where I'm at right now is something that not very many people get to experience or be ever in their lifetime. So, I had to jump at the opportunity that was in front of me."

Suggs, who's currently ranked the third overall prospect and second overall guard on The Ringer's NBA Draft big board, played and started in all 30 games for the top-ranked Bulldogs last season, averaging 14.4 points per game with a team-high 4.5 assists and 1.9 steals. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder also scored a team-high 22 points in Gonzaga's national title game loss to Baylor, and before the Bulldogs' perfection bid fell short, Suggs made a stunning game-winning half-court shot against UCLA in the Final Four.

As a player with exceptional court vision and ball-handling skills, Suggs has drawn comparisons to Hall of Fame guard Jason Kidd and three-time All-NBA selection Chauncey Billups, to name a few.

"Everyone has a different opinion and has a different comp, so I love hearing them all," Suggs said. "But Jason Kidd, you can't be mad about. You can't really ask for much more than that. He's a Hall of Fame point guard. He was in the league forever. You can go back and throw on the tape and see what he did. He was one of the greatest point guards to play in the NBA. I appreciate that comp. There's a ton of people that I pick stuff from. I try to look at everybody's game, take little bits and pieces, and then apply it to my own..."

The NBA will hold its annual draft lottery on Tuesday, June 22, with the Houston Rockets, Detroit Pistons, and Orlando Magic all given a league-high 14-percent chance to win the top overall pick.

The entire NBA Draft conversation between Suggs and Tiki and Tierney can be accessed in the audio player above.

You can follow the Tiki and Tierney Show on Twitter @TikiAndTierney and Tom Hanslin @TomHanslin.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Jamie Squire / Staff / Getty Images