Five Things to Know: ANFERNEE SIMONS
On March 13, twelve players were named to the 2018 USA Basketball Junior National Select Team that will take on the World Select Team in the 21st annual Nike Hoop Summit on Friday, April 13 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon, and Anfernee Simons (IMG Academy/Altamonte Springs, Fla.) was one of them.
Simons and his U.S. teammates will take part in one of the most prestigious high school games in the world, and many of the U.S. and international athletes have gone on to become some of the best college players in the NCAA and then onto NBA careers. In fact, 203 USA and World Team alumni have been drafted by NBA teams.
To get you ready for the 2018 Nike Hoop Summit, usab.com will bring you features on all of the U.S. players, beginning with a unique prospect in Simons, who is a 6-foot-5 guard out of Florida.
He Is Eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft
At the 2018 Nike Hoop Summit, Simons will be in a remarkable position. Unlike most USA Nike Hoop Summit players, who go on to become the next crop of NCAA diaper dandies, Simons is eligible for the 2018 NBA Draft.
What he will do, however, remains to be determined. He may sign with a college during the April 11 to May 16 signing period, but even so, he will have until June 11 to decide whether or not to enter the 2018 NBA Draft.
He has told several media outlets that he is leaning toward playing college basketball, but ESPN’s mock draft has Simons going to the Milwaukee Bucks with the 20th pick. USA Today projects Simons to the Indiana Pacers with the 25th pick.
Coincidentally, Nike Hoop Summit World Team alumni Thon Maker reclassified during his junior year to graduate early in 2014-15, then completed a post-graduate year in 2015-16 and declared for the 2016 NBA Draft and was drafted 10th by the Milwaukee Bucks.
“The most helpful thing has been my parents telling me not to worry about it too much,” Simons said. “They support me through everything, and I really need that because I’m so young.
“I think having self-confidence is one thing,” Simons answered when asked what factors are important to him as he makes his decision. “I also think about where I would fit in, and the feedback I am getting.”
In 2017-18, He Suited Up for the IMG Academy Postgrad National Team
After averaging 23.8 points per game in his senior year at Edgewater High School in Orlando in 2016-17, Simons transferred to IMG Academy in Florida. At IMG, he played on the IMG Academy Postgrad National Team in 2017-18 and averaged 22.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game while shooting 54.0 percent from the floor and 45.0 from 3-point to help IMG to a 23-8 regular season record and an invitation to the National Prep Championship.
The move was one Simons and his family mapped out several years ago to help Simons, who was young for his class, have the chance to grow physical and mentally.
“This year was good for me,” Simons said of his year at IMG. “I learned a lot. I learned a lot about time management and improving my game, and I got stronger. I have put on about 10 pounds. I’m up to 187.
“I can feel that this has made me stronger on the court,” Simons said of the added weight. “I’m dealing with contact better.”
Check out highlights SLAM posted on Instagram in January.
He is Relatively New to USA Basketball
Simons is one of five members of the 2018 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team who will arrive in Portland, Oregon, in April with the just one prior USA Basketball experience under his belt, which came at the 2017 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team October minicamp.
“It means everything to play for my country,” Simons said. “I think it would be a dream come true for anybody, and I’m very honored.”
And, if he hesitates, get a hand up. It’s one of his favorite moves.
“Definitely scoring, but I can bring anything, really just anything,” Simons said when asked what his strengths were. “I think one of my favorite moves is a hesitation and jump shot.”
DraftExpress posted highlights and their break down of Simons on YouTube this past November.
What is in a Name?
Anfernee Simons is in fact named after Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, and Simons will get his first chance to play for him in the 2018 Nike Hoop Summit, as Hardaway is the USA’s assistant coach.
“My best friend is his son, so we met when I was like in the sixth grade, so I’ve known him for a while,” Simons explained. “It will be my first time playing for him and interacting with him basketball-wise for a couple of days, so that will be fun.”
What You Don’t Know
Simons is a self-proclaimed video game freak.
“I’ll play anything if I like it,” Simons said. ““Most recently, Call of Duty, NBA2K and Fortnite.”
The 2018 Nike Hoop Summit will be played at 7 p.m. PDT on Friday, April 13 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. Tickets are available at bit.ly/nikehoopsummit2018.