INDIANAPOLIS — The adidas Uprising Gauntlet Series opened with one of its headline acts on Friday.
Kobi Simmons, one of the top guards in the Class of 2016, and his loaded Atlanta Celtics team began their weekend here in the outskirts of Indianapolis with an 82-50 win in front of wide range of big-time college basketball coaches.
Simmons, a lanky, smooth 6-foot-5 point guard, had 15 points, five assists and three steals as Kentucky coach John Calipari, Arizona coach Sean Miller and Florida coach Billy Donovan, among many other coaches, watched.
The win capped off what has been a busy week for the five-star guard. Simmons has met with Calipari, North Carolina coach Roy Williams, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, Ohio State coach Thad Matta and Georgia coach Mark Fox all in the last eight days.
All five schools have offered Simmons a scholarship, with UK’s coming within the past two weeks. The Wildcats likely will make Simmons a priority with the reclassification of coveted point guard Derryck Thornton, who moved up to the Class of 2015 and signed with Duke last week.
“It’s Kentucky,” Simmons said. “That’s a great school and that could be one of my options.”
Pressed for more thoughts on the Wildcats, Simmons said, “It’s a great program. Coach Cal’s past is highly spoken of, and I just think it’s a great program. I watch them play. I like the style they play.”
Style of play is a primary factor in the schools Simmons is considering, he said, and it appears UK will have some heavy competition for Simmons’ services. He praised Syracuse and particularly Boeheim for him helping guards reach the NBA, and Ohio State’s use of Louisville native D’Angelo Russell this past season impressed Simmons, too.
In his meeting with UNC’s Williams, the two spoke at length about the Tar Heels’ up-tempo pace and how the high school junior would fit in once Marcus Paige graduates after next season.
“I’ll walk in and earn my spot to be their point guard. (Williams will) trust me with the ball in my hands,” Simmons said.
“North Carolina comes at me very hard … They talk to me every day. That’s a lot. Coach Williams told me, ‘If you don’t like to push the ball, don’t come here.’ He obviously knows I like to push the ball or he wouldn’t be recruiting me.”