By Jared Weiss, USA TODAY High School Sports | January 14, 2018 4:12 pm ET
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Anfernee Simons is still seriously considering entering the 2018 NBA Draft, the IMG star said after scoring 28 points against Vermont Academy in front of scouts from at least half a dozen NBA teams and a collection of the NCAA’s top college coaches.
The 7th ranked player in the class 2018 per 247Sports, Simons has been seeking a new school after decommitting from Louisville in wake of the FBI pay-to-play investigation. Simons says his list of schools consists of Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, SMU, Minnesota, North Carolina State and others, which reportedly include Florida State and Alabama.
He visited Tennessee on January 5th and said he liked the atmosphere and Coach Rick Barnes. He has a visit scheduled with North Carolina State in February, where he said coach Kevin Keatts will allow him to run the show. He’s a dynamic scorer in all phases of the game who could make a major impact as a freshman, despite his slim build.
But he still has his eye toward making the rare jump directly to the NBA after reclassifying a year back to become eligible. Prospects are now allowed to enter the NBA draft without hiring an agent so they can participate in the combine and try out for one team. Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo did so last year and decided to withdraw from the draft after his evaluation was less than desirable.
Simons plans to test the water in the same way.
“I’m probably going to wait until the last signing period to decide if I’m gonna keep if I’m gonna keep my name in or go to college,” he said. “Someone told me about it, after that I told my parents maybe this is a good idea. Really I’m just trying to get better every day.”
He’s clearly got the scoring part down already, but he is trying to evolve as a point guard to make a strong impression on the NBA when he goes to the combine in May.
“Pretty much the same thing, but mostly working on my point guard skills,” he said of his goals of proving his capability as a combo guard. “I know I can play shooting guard, I’ve been playing that my whole life. Really just tuning in my point guard skills and working on that.”
While his college decision is looming, he will have 10 days after the combine in May to decide if he wants to stay in the draft. His college eligibility would be over at that point. After Sunday’s performance, scouts in attendance remained inconclusive about whether he is ready.
“I think I did alright,” Simons said after the narrow win over Vermont Academy. “Really just going in and trying to play as hard as I can for my team to get a win. We’ve slipped up a couple of times, I just wanted to play hard and help my team win.”
The team won and he had his fingerprints all over it. Simons’ skill package certainly looks like it will propel him to the NBA in the near future. Whether that will be this year remains an open question.