George Suggs eats like a horse. But, much to his chagrin, burns it off like a marathon runner. Suggs, the 6-foot-10, 205-pound center for the Vianney basketball team, is constantly noshing on something. He eats five meals a day and that’s just to maintain his current weight. “I try to eat constantly,” Suggs, 17, says. “It’s hard to keep weight on during the season.”
Some of us look at a pizza and put on five pounds. Suggs could have a feedbag strapped to his head and still not tip the scales. Then again Suggs has his impressive work ethic to thank for his supercharged metabolism. In order to be ready for his senior year with the Golden Griffins, he spent the offseason working with a personal trainer. “It might not look it, but I’m stronger than I’ve ever been,” Suggs says.
Physically it would be hard to tell if he’s packed on muscle since he is tall, skinny and longer than a winter night. But the results have shown up where the Golden Griffins need them the most—on the court.
Suggs has gone from a defensive specialist who occasionally scored as a junior to a bona fide offensive weapon as a senior. He’s averaging more than 10 points, grabbing six rebounds and blocking two shots per game. Not bad for a guy who the Vianney coaching staff thought early in his career might be a role player. “Before his junior year, we thought he’d give us two or three minutes at a time,” Vianney coach Kevin Walsh says. “By the end of last season, we needed him out there (as much as possible).”
Suggs has been an iron man of sorts for Vianney. He says he came into the preseason feeling like he wasn’t in the best shape for running up and down the court. But when the Golden Griffins first game tipped off, he played just about all 32 minutes and says he could have played another four quarters. He rarely rides the pine.
By getting into the best physical shape of his career, Suggs has transformed himself into a versatile component for Vianney, which is 18-1. Suggs has always been able to step out and hit a jump shot. What was missing in the past was his ability to set up near the basket and go to work in the post. In previous years, smaller but stronger players could uproot him and move him away from the basket. That hasn’t been the case this season. “(My strength) has definitely helped me in the post,” he says.
Walsh is impressed with how versatile Suggs has become this season. It has given the Golden Griffins a completely different dimension on the offensive side. “He’s gotten really good at understanding where the defense is,” Walsh says. “He can use a spin move or a hook shot. Or he can turn and face and shoot it. It’s been neat to watch his progression.”
The only thing that keeps Suggs off the court is foul trouble. When you’re a shot blocker, that’s the price of doing business. Some days you get whistled for more fouls than others. Suggs says he has to pick his spots to be aggressive. “It’s something I need to work on,” he says.