Why Jalen Suggs Freshman Season compares favorably to a former number 1 overall pick?
Jalen Suggs has been having an amazing freshman season, and with his latest game winner against UCLA to lead his team to the National Championship game much has been asked about his draft stock. It had me wondering have we seen a season from a Freshman like this. I came to the conclusion the closest comparison to Jalen Suggs as far as season impact from a Freshman point guard you would have to go back to the 2007–2008 season from Derrick Rose. Yes, the former #1 Overall Pick to the Chicago Bulls, and eventual League MVP. He was just a young Freshman with the Memphis Tigers who would help lead his team to the National Championship game but would lose to the Kansas Jayhawks in a classic game that went to overtime. Now I’m not saying their games are the same, while both are athletic Derrick Rose was a little bit better athlete he had more burst and was better vertically coming into the draft, these things made him one of the most Athletic point guards we had ever seen in the NBA. Suggs on the other hand while not as shifty or athletic is a better playmaker, and defender. The Similarities don’t just end there.
Let us start at the beginning coming out of high school Jalen Suggs and Derrick Rose were both highly ranked prospects coming out of high school but neither were the number 1 prospect or consensus top 3 prospect. Derrick Rose was the number 5 prospect in his class according to Recruiting Services Consensus Index, While Jalen Suggs was the number 7 prospect. Both Joined elite programs but not schools that were in a power 5 conference. Gonzaga is in the West Coast Conference, while Memphis then coached by current Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari was in Conference USA. Gonzaga this last season with All-American’s Drew Timme and Corey Kispert went on to have 31–2 season before COVID abruptly ended everyone’s March Madness. Memphis the previous season before Derrick Rose arrived had a 33–4 season with All-American Chris Douglas-Roberts leading the way before losing to Ohio State in the Elite Eight. It doesn’t end with their respective schools. Jalen Suggs this year has been averaging 14.1 point, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.6 assists while leading help his team to a perfect record heading into the National Championship game. Derrick Rose his lone season with the Memphis Tigers averaged 14.9 points 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists while leading his team to a 38–1 record heading into the 2008 National Championship Game. While Both weren’t the leading scorers on their teams; each clearly were the most talented player on each of their team throughout their Freshman Season.
Now as much as Derrick Rose draft stock climbed with his tournament run in 2008. Jalen Suggs has as much so done the same for himself. Derrick Rose had many other fellow Freshmen to contend for the top pick even though he would go number 1 to the Bulls heading into the tournament it was fair game between prospects like OJ Mayo, Pac-12 Big Man Kevin Love, and National Freshman of the Year from the Big-12 Ultra Scoring machine Michael Beasley. That reminds me heading into this tournament Jalen Suggs is competing for the 2021 number 1 overall pick with prospects like Jalen Green, Pac-12 Big Man Evan Mobley, and National Freshman of the Year from the Big-12 Ultra Scoring machine Cade Cunningham. This was just a reminder of how special of a year Jalen Suggs is having and how good Derrick Rose was, and though their respective games aren’t the same their impact on the game is.
Spooky Hours: In the season Derrick Rose was a Freshman in 2007–2008 the National Player of the Year award would go to the hard-working big man former North Carolina Tar Heel Tyler Hansbrough, who would end up being nothing but a role player and flaming out in the NBA. This Years National Player of the Year went to hard-working Big man Iowa Hawkeye Luka Garza…………I’m just saying.
All Stats according to sports reference college basketball