2018 5-Star, Anfernee Simons, Deciding Between Gophers (others) or NBA Draft
Like Amir Coffey’s right shoulder, the 2017-18 Gopher Men’s basketball team is all out of whack. After their President’s Day OT loss to Wisconsin, the squad, which entered the season with lofty aspirations, is now 3-13 in Big Ten play.
That picture from our Instagram account (IG link: Click here) beat me to mentioning the battle vs. the Badgers. I also got worked on being the first one from Minnesota Sports Fan to discuss Anfernee Simons. Apparently, I’ve been slacking more than the refs in Monday night’s matchup.
Towards the end of the most recent episode of our Podcast “No Shirts, Just Skins” (Podcast link: Click here), Eric and Brandon break down how the 7th-ranked player in entire the Class of 2018 became interested, and by all indications, remains interested in the Gopher’s basketball program.
Spoke with ESPN no.7 Anfernee Simons earlier. Four programs on him the hardest. Tennessee, NC State, South Carolina and Minnesota. He is currently on his official visit to NC State as they take on North Carolina today. https://t.co/5gmurH5Pu3 pic.twitter.com/9Xly6vK9Fr
— Paul Biancardi (@PaulBiancardi) February 10, 2018
While the above Tweet from ESPN’s National Director of Recruiting, Paul Biancardi, came back on February 10th, there have been little to no developments on the Simons recruiting realm since then. Last Monday, the best player in the State of Florida told 247sports.com that in regards to an official visit to Minnesota “I’m planning on it, but we haven’t talked about a date yet.”
Why is Anfernee Simons considering Minnesota?
— Jordan (@Jumpman23) February 19, 2018
In all seriousness, despite the state of Minnesota being brilliant in a variety of categories, attracting top ten basketball recruits isn’t one of them. Out of the four teams listed by Biancardi, our Land of 10K Lakes selves are an anomaly. As for the cause of this rarity, there appear to be two main reasons why the Maroon and Gold are listed along the likes of the three southern schools:
1.) Simons had originally pledged to play for the Louisville. As most college basketball fans know, Rick Pitino (father of Gopher’s coach, Richard) was let go from the Cardinals’ head coaching position, amid allegations against the program. Upon Pitino Sr.’s termination, the 6’4″ high school superstar decommitted from the University.
Naturally, Rick has an established relationship with coveted 5-star talent. As for how much, or even if, the two are in contact these days, per Simons’ recent interview, that is unclear.
Sometimes it’s all about who you know.
2.) Simons currently attends IMG Academy. Does that school sound familiar?
— Star Tribune Sports (@StribSports) December 27, 2017
Three members of the Gopher 2018 football commits happen to attend the Private Florida High School, Carlos Dunlap, Daniel Faalele, and Zack Annexstad. As you can see from the above picture, Dunlap and Faalele are both 4 star signees. It’s evident that, at a minimum, P.J. Fleck and his staff have valuable contacts at IMG. You’d imagine, Richard and his coaches have a few important phone numbers with western-Florida area codes. Once again, sometimes it’s all about who you know.
If you want to throw in the new athletic facility, as the third reason, I’m sure as hell NOT stopping you.
— Overtime (@overtime) February 19, 2018
Oh my, that was sexy.
One wrinkle that NEEDS to be mentioned directly relates to the Overtime’s “LEAGUE HIM” reference. In atypical fashion, Simons will be eligible for this summers NBA draft. HOWWW??
Technically, Simons already graduated from high school, in Edgewater, FL. He is spending what they call a “post-grad” year at IMG. So, he will be one year removed from high school graduation when the June draft takes place, making him eligible for entry.
Want to know what Simons is thinking? Well, lucky for you (and me), Anfernee is keeping a blog, leading up to his decision over at Rivals.com. His February entry had some interesting thoughts. It looks like his decision rides on what the NBA Scouts think, leading up to the draft, but don’t expect his mind to be made up anytime soon…
“The process might be a little drawn out. Even if I go to college, I probably won’t get there until the summer, most likely, after the deadline. I honestly won’t commit until it comes to decide in May.
For me, it is going to be about the feedback that I get from what people are telling me. I am just hoping that I can get some workouts with some NBA teams and most likely I will make my decision sometime in the spring after I train and get my workouts in and get ready for the combine.”
To close, the fact that the frozen state of Minnesota is now in the mix, has to make the pursuing SEC/ACC schools, and Simons’ hopeful agent, a little sweaty.