Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
The 6-foot-5 combo guard from Alpharetta (GA) St. Francis announced for Arizona on Saturday on ESPN. The No. 3-ranked combo guard in the Class of 2016 by 247Sports.com, Simmons also listed Ohio State and Kentucky, but SNY.tv reported earlier this week that Arizona was expected to land him.
“Next year I will be attending the University of Arizona,” he said as he slipped on a Wildcats baseball cap.
“It was everything about the staff. Me and [head coach Sean] Miller, we got a great relationship. We’ve built a strong relationship. They’ve been recruiting me over the last four years. Same with coach Book [Richardson], the assistant coach. We’ve been rocking together and I feel like that’s where home is.”
Arizona has enjoyed an on-again, off-again courtship with Simmons, but did have a home visit with him last year.
After missing out on Markelle Fultz (Washington) and Andrew Jones (Texas), Arizona ramped up the pressure on Simmons, who was originally thought to be leaning towards Ohio State. Sources told SNY.tv this week that Ohio State was no longer recruiting Simmons, perhaps because the staff saw the handwriting on the wall.
Asked what skillset he will bring to the Pac-12, Simmons said, “Play-making abilites. Come in and hopefully be one of the leaders, and just bringing whatever they need for the team. And just an overall playmaker.”
Arizona loses senior guard Gabe York to graduation and could lose freshman guard Allonzo Trier to the NBA Draft despite the fact that he’s out up to six weeks with a broken hand.
Sources said Arizona will still pursue Rawle Alkins, the New York native who recently added Arizona back on to his list.
The Wildcats are two under the scholarship limit and see the 6-4 Alkins as being similar to former Arizona one-and-done star Stanley Johnson, a lottery pick in last year’s NBA Draft.
Alkins sees himself as a future NBA player and Arizona is pitching to him that they have a track record of sending guys to the league after one or two years with Aaron Gordon, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Johnson.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.