MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans are praising one of their own after a moment that will go down in March Madness history.
Twin Cities native Jalen Suggs sank the buzzer beater in overtime, clinching Gonzaga’s win during a nail-biting Final Four match-up against UCLA on Saturday night.READ MORE: Farmers Insurance Open Moves Up A Day On PGA Tour Calendar
Ibrahim Oduniyi was out playing pick-up basketball with his friends at Peavey Field Park in Minneapolis Sunday afternoon.
“Oh my goodness, I jumped up and went crazy,” Oduniyi said. “My girl thought the whole house was burning down.”
The Minneapolis youth basketball coach knows that seeing Suggs shine on a national stage right now will inspire so many young Minnesota athletes.
“It proves to them that this is possible,” Oduniyi said.
Mark Woods, who was also playing in the pick-up game at Peavey Field Park, works within the Minneapolis public school system. He’s thrilled to see the path Suggs is paving for the young athletes coming behind him.
“Showing up on big stages, it’s just great for these youth out here,” Woods said. “As a youth worker myself, to be able to see kids have an outlet, to see people to look up to, it allows them to know that they can actually do it as well.”READ MORE: Baseball Report: Yankees Control Their Wild Card Playoff Destiny
So many Minnesotans jumped out of their seats when Suggs hit that buzzer beater, especially his alma mater Minnehaha Academy. Josh Thurow is the school’s athletic director.
“He’s a Redhawk. He’s the type of guy we’re so proud of, not just because of the great success he’s had, but because the type of person he is,” Thurow said.
He watched Suggs as a seventh grader make their varsity basketball team, and a name for himself — which the country got to know Saturday night.
“I was definitely sweating out there,” Thurow said. “Was just so happy to see it finish the way it did.”
Maybe a state synonymous for snow and hockey is shifting to center court of a new reputation?
“To be able to have something to brag about is definitely fun,” Woods said.MORE NEWS: Wolves And Lynx Owners Talk Teams' Futures; KAT Voices 'Instability' Concerns
You can watch Jalen Suggs and the Bulldogs take on Baylor in the NCAA final Monday night on WCCO at 7:30 p.m.