Jalen Suggs' body language told the story of the moment.
The Minnehaha Academy standout turned freshman phenom at Gonzaga had scored 22 points in the NCAA men's basketball title game, but it wasn't enough. Gonzaga had fallen 86-70 to Baylor — a masterful performance from start to finish by the Bears — and had seen its pursuit of a perfect season come up one game short.
Marcus Fuller and I talked about the game and Suggs' future on Tuesday's Daily Delivery podcast. It almost certainly involves a one-and-done college career and an entrance in the NBA Draft, where Suggs figures to be a top-five pick.
If you don't see the podcast player, click here to listen.
What's particularly interesting is how Suggs' future can be viewed through a local lens in terms of both the Timberwolves and the Gophers.
The Wolves might be in a position to draft Suggs, though there are a number of caveats to that notion. Even if Minnesota finishes with one of the three worst records in the NBA — a solid bet even as the NBA-worst Wolves (13-38) creep a little closer to the rest of the league's worst teams and figure to win a little more with D'Angelo Russell back from injury — the Wolves will only have a 40% chance of keeping their 2021 first-round pick.
If the lottery gods smile on them again on June 22 and they land in the top three, they keep the pick and could take Suggs. If they fall to fourth or fifth — a 60% likelihood even with one of the three worst records in the league — the pick will go to Golden State as part of the Russell for Andrew Wiggins trade.
If the Wolves get the No. 1 pick, it would be awfully hard not to take Oklahoma State's Cade Cunningham. But they could decide the lure of a hometown player with a high ceiling is too much to pass up, particularly if their pick is No. 2 or No. 3. Would that be the best thing for Suggs? Fuller seemed to think he might be better off getting drafted by a franchise with a more positive history.
Again, there is a lot to play out in the next couple months, but you inevitably will hear Suggs' name linked to the Wolves between now and the draft, particularly after June 22 if the Wolves keep their pick.
His future is tied less directly to that of the Gophers, but fans of that program are bound to look at what Suggs did for Gonzaga (and what Tyus Jones, Tre Jones and countless other high-end Minnesota players have done for other top programs) and wonder if new coach Ben Johnson can start landing recruits of that caliber.
Don't plan on the Gophers and Johnson being able to get 2021 recruit Chet Holmgren, Suggs' former Minnehaha teammate and the No. 1 overall recruit in this class, Fuller said. But maybe Cretin Derham-Hall guard Tre Holloman, a four-star recruit and No. 60 ranked player overall in the 2022 class, is a reasonable first big target?
Holloman is a great player, though not in the Suggs category (yet). Still, the national profile of Minnesota players has been raised in recent years, with Suggs taking it to another level. That will only increase the opportunity for Johnson — and also the pressure — to land more of those players in the future.
As for Suggs himself? He looks like the kind of player who will play a long time in the NBA. His versatility on or off the ball, his strength and his ability to defend are all qualities that teams covet.
Monday was filled with disappointment for Suggs, but his future is filled with potential and likely success.