NBA Draft Night: Grassroots Sizzle’s Brian Sandifer talks Jalen Suggs

I remember a phone conversation I had with Brian Sandifer, co-founder of Grassroots Sizzle basketball, regarding his team playing in RecruitLook Hoops events and a special player he had by the name of Jalen Suggs. It went something like this:

“Jalen Suggs will be a pro… mark my words. I also have another killer that is in 8th grade named Chet Holmgren. He’s next up.”

It’s safe to say Sandifer was right on both players. Suggs is set to be a lottery pick in tonight’s NBA Draft in New York, and Holmgren is the #1 ranked player in the 2021 class — and is expected to be a lottery pick in the 2022 draft.

Grassroots Sizzle has long been a supporter of RecruitLook Hoops and we caught up with Sandifer as he heads to New York to see one of his own get drafted to play in the NBA.

RLH:  What is your connection with Jalen and the Suggs family? How did that strong relationship start?

BS:  Jalen’s dad is a great friend, a brother, and the Suggs name in the Minneapolis area was always synonymous with being a great athlete. Larry was a hooper out there — he was Skip To My Lou on the court. He played NAIA ball and so we just always knew each other from being around the game. I was running tournaments and had some connections, so Larry reached out when Jalen was younger asking how he can get him better. We just always had a good relationship that only got stronger as the years went on.

RLH:  When did you know Jalen was a special talent?

BS:  I’ve been saying he’s a pro since he was 5-years old. I was running a tournament and a team at the 9th-grade division only had 4 guys. I called Larry and told him to get Jalen up here to play. He was only 5-years old at the time and was getting buckets. I told Larry after that game that Jalen will be a pro.

RLH:  That is crazy. When did other people in the basketball industry realize what you’ve known since Jalen was little?

BS:  Probably when he was playing as an 8th grader in a big Las Vegas tournament and dunked on Lonnie Walker. I had every coach in that building ask me who that kid was. He was put in a high leverage game during an NCAA Live period against some of the best competition and did his thing. He put all the scouts on notice then.

RLH:  Once you get to the League, it is business and basketball. What has helped Jalen prepare for that?

BS:  Honestly, his dad instilled in him at a young age how he needs to act on and off the court. He made sure Jalen hit the books and treated people the right way. Not a lot of people know this but Jalen is bilingual. Larry knew it would benefit him in the long run. Larry would coach him up on how to play the game but also on how to act with all the attention he was getting throughout high school. It’s crazy how much stuff gets thrown in Jalen’s direction. He’s done a great job handling it all and will make a lot of companies a ton of money along the way.

RLH:  Can you explain a little bit about any of the behind-the-scenes of the NBA draft process?

BS:  It’s crazy. There are phone calls nonstop from people you never heard of or thought you would be hearing from. Everyone wants to get information… background checks, calls from scouts and agents, and people constantly looking at the social media. The thing we heard most that could hurt your draft stock was doing something foolish on social media — and they have people looking deep into the archives to see what’s out there.

RLH:  Chet Holmgren played with Jalen on Grassroots Sizzle, is going to the same college as Jalen, and will likely be a lottery pick like Jalen. Is he using this process that Jalen is going through to his advantage? 

BS:  Most definitely. He’s very close with Jalen so they talk a lot about it all. Chet and his family are asking all the right questions and watching to see how this whole thing plays out. It’s crazy to think that we’ll have back-to-back lottery picks from the Sizzle organization. 

RLH:  Your Grassroots Sizzle organization based out of Minneapolis has exploded in recent years playing on the Under Armour Association as well as the RecruitLook Hoops Circuit. What’s next for your teams?

BS:  We’re just going to continue to build off all of our success. Obviously, our top 17u team has played UAA but all our other groups have been playing in RecruitLook Hoops… and those kids are going D1 and other levels. The competition and exposure we get for our teams at RecruitLook Hoops are the best we’ve seen from an independent and we’ve been pleased with all the success of our guys. 

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2019 Larry Hughes Elite Camp Preview

Press Release

August 2nd, 2019

RecruitLook Hoops will once again host the Larry Hughes Elite Camp on August 10-11, 2019 in St. Louis. This is an invite-only camp that will bring in some of the top high school basketball recruits from across the country. The two-day event will feature a mixture of 60 national recruits in the 2020, 2021, and 2022 recruiting classes – all getting the chance to learn from NBA-veteran and skills trainers.

NBA veteran, Larry Hughes, along with state-champion high school coach, Justin Tatum, will be the lead instructors for the Camp that will take place at Hughes’ brand-new facility.

Hughes has an impressive resume having played thirteen seasons at the highest level of professional basketball in the NBA. He was drafted by the 76ers in the 1st round (8th overall) of the 1998 NBA draft out of Saint Louis University, where he was named Freshman of the Year. Hughes was recognized as a versatile and athletic guard with strong defensive abilities, and was selected to the 2004-2005 All-Defensive 1st Team.

“Larry is passionate about spreading his basketball knowledge to the younger generation, which aligns with our vision and overall goal of RecruitLook Hoops,” says Mike Enright, Founder of RecruitLook. “It’s paramount that we have an influential partner like Larry to assist with the development of the next generation of basketball players.”

This camp will also feature wearable technology that is found in top-notch NBA facilities, including the RSPCT Basketball System to track shots, and the Kinexon’s sports technology cameras to measure player movement. All the data is tracked and logged into a digital locker, which will be shared to college coaches of all levels.

“We founded Larry Hughes Basketball Academy as well as our BTS (Basketball Training System) to develop athletes’ basketball abilities and basketball IQ — as well as their character and life skills,” says Larry Hughes, Founder of LHBA and BTS. “We share the same vision when it comes to assisting youth within the sport of basketball. We’re excited to build leaders on and off the court.”

The Larry Hughes Elite Camp provides athletes with an opportunity to showcase their skills against elite competition, while also learning more about the game of basketball and life-skills from special guests. In addition to the drill work and skills sessions the campers will receive, the camp will focus on teaching valuable lessons off the court.

The camp is not open to the public, only family members of the campers. Media requests need to be submitted to

Get the preview of Campers attending…