After helping guide the Gonzaga Bulldogs through an undefeated regular season, Jalen Suggs leads the nation’s top-ranked team into the Final Four this weekend in a matchup against UCLA. For NFL fans, his last name should ring a bell. And the answer is, yes, he is related to seven-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer Terrell Suggs who rang the bells of a few quarterbacks during his career. But that’s not all. He’s also related to another famous athlete who made multiple All-Star appearances for the LA Lakers.
Jalen Suggs is freshman star at Gonzaga
Coming out of high school in Minnesota, Jalen Suggs had choices. As a four-star dual-threat quarterback, he could have chosen football. As a five-star recruit in basketball, he had offers from Florida, and numerous other schools. He chose to play hoops for the Gonzaga Bulldogs, the highest-ranked player to ever commit to the program.
In his freshman season, Suggs has proven to be every bit as good as expected. The 6-foot-4 guard is the third-leading scorer on the team, averaging 14 points per contest. He’s also pulled down 5.5 rebounds and dished out 4.5 assists per game.
More importantly, Suggs has guided a Gonzaga offensive attack that is second to none. This season the Zags have averaged a staggering 91.6 points per game en route to an unblemished 30-0 record. It’s Mark Few’s best team since his arrival in 2000.
If Suggs can help the Bulldogs win two more games, he would join elite company and another member of the family who has a couple of championships of his own in another sport.
Terrell Suggs won two Super Bowl titles and destined for Hall of Fame
Jalen Suggs could have opted to play football like his famous second cousin Terrell, who the Baltimore Ravens selected with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. The 20-year-old was more than impressive his rookie season with the Ravens, dominating opposing offenses and finishing the year with 12 sacks, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and an interception. He deservedly won the 2003 Defensive Rookie of the Year. It was a precursor of things to come.
Over the next 15 seasons, Suggs was a defensive force for the Ravens, earning Pro Bowl honors on seven occasions and an All-Pro nod in 2011. He played his last season with Baltimore in 2018, but not before tallying some impressive numbers, including 132.5 sacks, 33 forced fumbles, and seven interceptions. He won his first Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2012.
In 2019, Suggs played most of the season with the Arizona Cardinals before moving to the Kansas City Chiefs, where he played in just two games but won his second Super Bowl ring.
The younger Suggs said he learned a lot from his cousin’s football career.
“It’s been great. Being able to go see Terrell go play on Sundays and get sacks and hear his name being considered among first-ballot Hall of Famers, it’s great to hear and great to see,” Suggs told USA Basketball. “It definitely sets the bar high for me. I’m a competitor and I’m always trying to be the best, whether it’s being on the court at the time, whether it’s being the best in the state, country or the best in my family. They’ve given me a lot of insight and gives me something to chase and work towards.”
Jalen Suggs has another famous cousin who is a former NBA All-Star
Jalen Suggs didn’t follow Terrell but instead opted to follow in the footsteps of another cousin, Eddie Jones. Jones joined the LA Lakers in 1994 and like Suggs in the NFL, he impressed his rookie season, averaging 14 points a contest. He made the All-Rookie Team.
Jones had a nomadic career in the NBA and played his first four seasons with the Lakers, including a pair of All-Star appearances in 1996 and 1997. He joined the Charlotte Hornets in 1998 and received his third All-Star honor the following year. Jones played with four additional teams and finished his career with the Mavericks in 2007-08.
Jalen Suggs is just 19 years old and on the precipice of making sports history for Gonzaga. If he wins a championship, it will be yet another chapter for a family with an already impressive legacy in sports.