LSU-Bound Simmons Leads Montverde to City of Palms Title
By JASON MORROWSpecial to ZAGSBLOGFORT MEYERS, Fla. – Good things come to those who wait.
That was especially true on Monday night for Montverde Academy, who had to wait through an hour delay and a change of venue to defeat Fairfax Paul VI 58-53 for their second straight City of Palms Championship. The game started at the host site Bishop Verot High School, but had to be moved to Fort Myers High School due to an extremely slippery floor.
The delay may have actually helped the Eagles, as they jumped out 26-11 after one quarter. Montverde head coach Kevin Boyle agreed.
“We jumped on them,” Boyle said. “You could tell our kids were ready from the whole hour off.”
The play of 2015 Australian big man Ben Simmons was the difference for the Eagles all tournament long, and was rewarded for his efforts by being named Co-Most Valuable Player along with Lincoln (N.Y.) guard Isaiah Whitehead, who is headed to Seton Hall.
“I think him and Isaiah were great in the tournament and they deserved the award,” Boyle said of the co-MVPs.
The LSU-commit Simmons averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds and three assists over the four victories in the City of Palms.
“I think Ben you know, is very versatile,” Boyle said. “I think he’s a terrific all-around player, he’s very efficient.”
Longtime New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski was also impressed.
“Ben Simmons has a complete game,” Konchalski told SNY.tv. “He’s 6-8 and he covers the court effortlessly. He has great feet and he’s a quick jumper. He has a high level of athleticism. He has a high skill level. Can really pass. Shoots 3’s well early. What’s most remarkable in my eyes about him and most impressive is that someone with that level of athleticism, with that degree of talent, plays as hard as he does. He never takes a play off. He plays every possession and he has a tremendous motor. Best motor since Mercedes.”
The Eagles won their second straight City of Palms championship and Simmons said one of the goals for the rest of the season is about another repeat, this time the national championship.
“Just making sure I get better, and as a team [getting better],” Simmons said when asked of his goals. “Just getting the team better, and win a national championship again, hopefully we can do that.”
Simmons committed to LSU in October, and the big man said he’s definitely keeping up with his future college.
“Definitely, I’m always keeping up with the Tigers,” Simmons said.
Follow Jason on TwitterFollow Adam Zagoria on TwitterAnd like ZAGS on Facebook
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.