‘The butterflies were there’: Jalen Suggs was nervous to face hometown Timberwolves

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Orlando Magic rookie Jalen Suggs was admittedly nervous to return home on Monday and face the Minnesota Timberwolves in the arena he has played in growing up.

Suggs, who was born in St. Paul, attended the Minnehaha Academy and helped them to three consecutive state championships. He played at Target Center previously with Minnehaha and got to play there again on Monday, this time in the NBA.

The fifth overall pick had the opportunity to spend some extra time with friends and family on Sunday after the Magic arrived from playing the Detroit Pistons. He attended the Minnesota Vikings game, and spent the afternoon with his grandmother, cousins and several others.

Those in attendance on Monday witnessed Suggs and the Magic walk away with a 115-97 victory. Suggs recorded 15 points and four assists in 32 minutes of work.

Afterward, he reflected on the experience of being back home.

The butterflies were there. I was nervous. I wanted to make stuff happen but I wanted to play the right way like I always do and then I was just nervous, to be honest. The whole night I tried to just do what I could to help this team win. I tried to find the paint, drive, push the pace and continue to find the hot hands, putting my teammates in the best positions to score. Franz (Wagner) and Cole (Anthony) made it easy for me tonight. A big shout out to my guys.

Brought me to tears seeing everybody and being back home. I wish I could’ve sat in there all night to chop it up with everyone I saw there tonight. I love Minnesota with all my heart and the embrace I received this weekend means more than any words. Great team win tonight fellas! pic.twitter.com/ux2p6ccKEc

— Jalen Suggs (@jalensuggs) November 2, 2021

Suggs may have struggled with those nerves at times in the contest as he converted on just 5-of-14 shot attempts from the field. However, he continued to make plays and was integral in helping the Magic overcome a 13-point second-half deficit to win.

Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley liked his performance under the circumstances.

I think he settled himself down and that’s why I kinda wanted to get a sub early for him so he could just take it all in. I think he was poised. He still was talking to me on the sideline about the things he saw, the way he was reading the game. I think he handled himself very well. Defensively, he was still aggressive, making the right reads, making the right plays. Him being home, with all of the emotion of his family and friends in the crowd, I think he handled it well.

The opportunity to face the Timberwolves back in Minnesota for the first time in the NBA was likely a moment Suggs won’t forget. Even better, Suggs and the Magic walked away with the win with his closest friends and family in the house.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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