There was a time when you could count the number of Minnesota players in the NBA on one hand. During the 2021-22 season, however, though some players participated in a limited number of games, 11 former metro-area high school players found themselves on NBA rosters.
Here is the list by name, height, high school, college and NBA team each played for this past season:
Amir Coffey, 6’7” shooting guard (Hopkins, University of Minnesota) Los Angeles Clippers
Freddie Gillespie, 6’9” power forward (East Ridge, Carleton College, Baylor University) Orlando Magic
Tre’ Jones, 6’1” point guard (Apple Valley, Duke University), San Antonio Spurs
Tyus Jones, 6’0” point guard (Apple Valley, Duke University), Memphis Grizzlies
Zeke Nnaji, 6’9” power forward (Hopkins, University of Arizona), Denver Nuggets
Daniel Oturu, 6’8” center (Cretin Derham Hall, University of Minnesota), Toronto Raptors
Jericho Sims, 6’10” power forward (Cristo Rey Jesuit, University of Texas), New York Knicks
Jalen Suggs, 6’4” shooting guard (Minnehaha Academy, Gonzaga University), Orlando Magic
Tyrell Terry, 6’2” point guard (DeLaSalle, Stanford University), Memphis Grizzlies
Gary Trent Jr., 6’5” shooting guard (Apple Valley, Prolific Prep, Duke University), Toronto Raptors
McKinley Wright IV, 6’0” point guard (Champlain Park, University of Colorado), Minnesota Timberwolves.
Trent Jr. averaged 18.3 points per game. Suggs had a good start to his rookie season with an 11.8 average. Coffey averaged nine per contest, Tyus Jones 8.7, Nnaji 6.6, Tre Jones 6.6, and Sims—whose playing time increased as the season progressed—2.2 points per game.
Gillespie, Oturu, Wright IV, and Terry saw limited action in a number of games this past season.
Tyus Jones (2014), Coffey (2016), Wright IV (2017), Tre’ Jones (2018), and Suggs (2020) were each named Mr. Basketball during their senior years.
Tyus Jones (2013 Class 4A), Tre Jones (2013, 2015, 2017), Coffey (2016 Class 4A), Terry (2016, 2017, 2019 Class 3A), and Suggs (2017, 2018, 2019 Class 2A) all led their teams to state championships.
Tyus Jones led Duke to the NCAA Division I championship and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player in 2015, while Suggs led Gonzaga to a runner-up finish in 2021.
Tyus Jones and Trent Jr. also helped their teams qualify for the NBA playoffs.
A pretty good representation if I do say so myself.
Dr. Mitchell Palmer McDonald is a contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.