After each stellar performance during this summer’s AAU circuit, Kobi Simmons always left the gym with an unsettled look on his face.
He finished games with the same hungry, tenacious facial expression seen from only the elite competitors. He wowed college coaches and had media members raving about his game, yet Simmons rarely sat back and enjoyed his success. The reason? He wanted to set an example for his teammates to never settle for “good.”
“Whatever team I played on, I was the leader,” Simmons stated. “My teammates respected me as the leader and listened to me. It’s my job to always re-encourage my teammates to finish strong and not celebrate too early.”
The 6-5 point guard’s leadership stood out during a period of basketball that many question to be lackadaisical. He boasts an extensive list of colleges pursuing his commitment, including Kentucky, Kansas, Auburn, Cincinnati, Florida State and others. He holds no favorites and wants to make a commitment before his senior season begins.
Offensively, he kept a solid balance between distributing the ball as a point guard and attacking when the opportunity arose. His vision and ability to hit the open man kept opposing defenses on their toes, creating a decision for defenders on whether to help off their man or give Simmons space to drive. He owns an extremely quick first step and uses his long strides to get out in transition. With an improving outside jumper, his offensive game comes to you fast.
Defensively, Simmons falls under the category of versatile defender. His fantastic size for the point guard position gives him the ability to defend either guard spot, a skill becoming more and more demanded at the highest level. Opposing guards have a tough time getting by Simmons due to his long arms and lengthy frame, so he excels at cutting off driving lanes and minimizing offensive penetration. This offseason, Simmons is putting an even greater emphasis on defense.
“I definitely want to improve defensively this year,” said Simmons. “I want to be considered a lock down defender that guards are scared to go up against. Defense is all effort and timing, so I think I can always improve in that area.”
The 2016 class boasts plenty of potentially dominant college players, with Simmons being squarely in the conversation for the top point guard in the class (one of his main competitors was profiled in this article). Ranked in the top 20 by nearly every major scouting company and as high as No. 7 by some, Simmons knows the target is firmly planted on his back now. But his maturity over the course of the year proves his dedication to winning his second state title in a row. If he continues to lead his school team in the manner he led his summer squads, the safe money would be placed on St. Francis High School to add another state championship trophy to their collection.