What has people so excited about this young guard? He's comfortable shooting on the move or off the dribble. You need to make sure everybody is in the same boat.”. “I was the dad that never let him play like a little kid,” Charles laughs. Today, he’s a 20-year-old wildfire of natural talent entering his second season with the Portland Trail Blazers. Minus the retro concords and baby face, he could pass for a member of the Queen’s Guard. He put the entire offensive package on display: cotton-ball floaters, step-back 25-footers, and coast-to-coast urgency with a lit-fuse live dribble. Anfernee Simons spent the last year playing high school basketball. Simons re-enrolled at Edgewater the following season, three inches taller and the owner of previously unthinkable athleticism. “Running the team, he needs to be more communicative.”, Simons agrees. A few teams thought about taking Simons in the lottery. The opportunity to learn from one of the league’s best backcourts would pay dividends in the future. , Simons was rated as a five-star recruit and was ranked as the 7th best player in the 2018 class by 247Sports.com.
By his third year, McCollum’s scoring average eclipsed 20 points per game. Perhaps his biggest strength is his long-range shooting. It was improvised. The Blazers made Simons their starting Summer League point guard for several developmental reasons, one being it forced him to deal with teammates in ways he hasn’t before. "After discussing the matter with my parents, I have decided to forego the opportunity to play in the NCAA and to instead enter the NBA Draft," Simons said in a statement. No team in the league had more continuity over that stretch. The two challenged each other after practice and during gym class. As a way to let his frail body catch up to a budding skillset, Simons reclassified down to the 2018 class after his sophomore year. Simons will spend the pre-draft process in Miami, working out with trainer Justin Zormelo. A matted flat-top adds five or six inches to his willowy 6’3 frame. When somebody has … By then, he was heavily recruited by several programs, including Louisville. “When I would show him stuff, he would barely be like yes or no. Stotts also likes to platoon his starting backcourt, which will allow Simons to function as a more prominent weapon while one of Portland’s star guards gets some rest.
They’re all in this bold venture together now.
Scoring is obvious, but his ability to defend opposing backcourts while running the team’s offense is a mystery. “One of the things Dame and I talk to him about is his pace. His playing time fluctuated, and the 40-minute commute from his parent’s home to campus was inconvenient when practices required a 3 a.m. wakeup call. 2. The next, they’re yolk in a skillet. Montverde wasn’t a perfect fit.
As the NBA considers changing its draft rules for young prospects, Simons will be an interesting case study. Without a second of rest for 48 minutes, Simons locked Portland into the No. Whether it was a grueling suicide drill or a simple down-and-back, he obsessed over finishing first and setting an example. Simons, who initially committed to Louisville before decommitting in September, is regarded as the No. “I think if we didn’t believe Anfernee was ready to step into that role then I would’ve played it safe and brought in a veteran,” Olshey says. After his graduation at Edgewater in 2017, he was forced to attend the IMG Academy because of his reclassification. “You have to start with yourself before you can get others to follow, right?”, Portland’s staff grabbed the baton.
When organized games began two years later, referees allowed the kids to commit violations without penalty. Used sparingly in his first year, Simons has the chance this year to establish himself in the rotation. Like Simons, McCollum barely contributed as a rookie. Do you understand what you just did? ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the Simons news. Most prep prospects aren't eligible for the NBA Draft, but Simons meets the requirements because he graduated last season, is in the midst of a postgraduate season and will turn 19 prior to June.
It’s easy for him.”, Everything about him is casual, but Simons meets challenges imposed by coaches, opposing players, parents, and especially himself, with the restlessness of a master chef restricted to boiling hot dogs.  During the summer of 2017, he also played for the United States men's national under-19 basketball team. In the process, Simons became the third teenager in NBA history to tally at least 37 points and nine assists in a game, the first two being LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
NBA scouts were well aware of Simons potentially jumping into the draft, as scouts evaluated him throughout the season at IMG Academy. At first, their physicality and strength was too much. He left Las Vegas with an absurd 71.6 True Shooting percentage, 30.5 usage rate, and a spot on the Summer League’s All-Second team.
This past summer, Simons shot 44-percent from the three-point stripe. Simons was at first hesitant to transfer, but his parents encouraged him to step outside his comfort zone. Simons told 247Sports in the fall that declaring for the NBA Draft was an option, but that he would still consider college. Nope. He’ll have time to develop as a distributor. In an effort to bulk up before his freshman season at another school, he pivoted to a post-grad year at IMG Academy, where first-class strength training facilities and a helpful nutrition program allowed Simons to get stronger. Zoom out and Portland’s rotation is volatile. “The first couple times I shot it, I’m like ‘I don’t know how the hell you’re doing this!” Atherton laughs. “He’ll have opportunities,” Stotts says.
 On March 20, 2018, ESPN ranked him as the 19th best prospect in the draft. “He’s comfortable no matter where he is.”. Teams can learn relatively more about him in workouts and interviews. He doesn’t watch League Pass “unless there’s a good game on.” He’s content with a monotonous life pervaded by Marvel movies (Captain America: Civil War is his favorite), and video games.
In addition to bringing in a specialist who helped build up his quad and alleviate the pain, Zormelo had Simons train against G League players. Simons is the 1st American to enter and be selected in an NBA draft directly after graduation from high school since the league first implemented age restriction rules in 2005. He graduated from Edgewater in 2017, averaging 23.8 pts, 7.2 rebs, 4.2 posts, 1.8 steals, and 0.5 ppg in 20 games played in his last year there. A family friend who coached one of Florida’s most prominent AAU teams worked him through basic drills. “It’s very hard to put guys on the court that can’t score, and it’s something that comes very natural for him. The Blazers are optimistic Simons will follow the blueprint laid out by McCollum, another combo guard whose shot options are “all of the above” at any given time. Limp eyelids rest above lips that don’t budge unless they must, and when they do, his voice carries only a brief hush. On July 2, 2018, the Trail Blazers announced that they had signed Simons. While physically underdeveloped and likely a ways away from contributing at the NBA level, he's considered one of the most athletic guard prospects in the class. The league’s strength and nutrition programs should serve him well.
Drafted with the 24th pick, 1st round by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2018 NBA Draft. H-O-R-S-E provided an opportunity for Simons to test himself by showing off a bold menu of trick shots, while placating a competitive spirit that turned every contest into a life-or-death event. Latest on Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Anfernee Simons including news, stats, videos, highlights and more on ESPN He played prep basketball for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. “When he drives in the lane, there’s just an easiness to it.”. “He had some of the best workouts I’d ever done, or ever seen.”. Anfernee Simons spent the last year playing high school basketball. “Or he’s up against matchups that he’s just not ready to handle yet. 3 seed. But because he did so as a fifth-year prep after technically graduating from high school last year and turns 19 in June, he’s eligible for the NBA draft. He was rated as a 5-star recruit in the 2018 class. He is the 3rd high school player since 2015 to be drafted in the NBA, behind Thon Maker and Satnam Singh Bhamara. For the first time since 2016, the Blazers will not start the year retaining more than 82 percent of the previous season’s minutes on their roster. (1:03). Imagine the deepest corner three possible, tucked a couple feet behind the NBA’s line. "I am very thankful for the support I received at IMG Academy and from the NCAA coaches who recruited me.
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