Arizona’s annual Red-Blue is always a great experience for the recruits, coaches, players and the fans. This year’s game was no different as the Wildcats had numerous visitors in attendance.
One such visitor was Arizona commit Justin Simon, who spoke with Wildcat Authority about his experience, his plans for next year and much more.
Wildcat Authority: How was your official visit to Arizona?
Justin Simon: I got to Tucson late on Thursday, and early Friday morning I was out with the coaches to get breakfast and just to bond. Ray Smith came down and joined us, too.
From there, they showed us their daily routines. They have a schedule for just practice days and a schedule after practices. Then Saturday came around and they just showed us through their typical pregame routines.
WA: What do you like about Tucson? You have said that you really like Arizona’s program, but what is it about Tucson that catches your eye?
Simon: I really like the weather. It doesn’t get too hot and the cool temperatures are great in the winter. Tucson’s community is great too. They’re a college town, so the college team is like their pro team. I just love the energy in the city, it’s really awesome.
WA: Were you able to hang out with the players during your visit?
Simon: We all hung out as a group. Caleb, Ray and I spent some time talking to Stanley, Dusan, Kadeem, Parker and Craig. We talked to Kaleb and Gabe too, but mostly the newcomers. They gave us tips and pointers for when we come in next season. They were great to be around, any questions we had, and they answered them. Coach Miller really does a great job of recruiting great players, but also great character guys.
WA: What were some of the tips they gave you?
Simon: All the newcomers said when you come in, nothing is given and everything is earned. We need to come in from day one and ready to play and to not focus on what people say. They brought up their preseason ranking and how they cannot let it get into their heads, they just have to play their best basketball every game.
WA: Did anything on this visit impress you?
Simon: There was nothing specifically that impressed me. I was just too excited to get here and see how everything is done. Looking back on it, I see that I really did make the best choice and next year will be truly special.
WA: How was your time spent with the coaches?
Simon: It was fun. We got to know even more about each other, so that was fun. Coach Stoudamire was there and he recruited me, so we have always been close. Coach Miller and I hung a lot too, and Pasternack came around a couple of times. With Ray and Caleb being there it was just a lot of fun. We talked about a lot and had some good laughs.
WA: Arizona could potentially lose a lot of their core pieces to the Draft this year. Were any of the coaches able to tell you what their plans for you are next season, in regards to your role?
Simon: Yeah, he said the team currently in place has a lot of talent. There’s a high chance they lose five great players after this year. T.J. is a senior, so he’s gone, and they might lose players to draft if everything works out. Coach Miller said our class is a big class and we have to be ready to work from day one.
He made it a point to say that we are not re-building, we are just re-loading. Personally, I feel we have a great class and we are just looking for one more piece. Plus, there will be players returning next year that will be big time for us.
WA: You briefly spoke about Arizona wanting to land one more recruit to finish up the class. How was it hanging out with Caleb Swanigan and do you think he left his visit higher on Arizona?
Simon: I truly felt Caleb had a great time. He was laughing and joking with us and it was great to get to know him more. He was on an unofficial visit, so he was not able to do all the things Ray and I did, but he said he had a great time.
He kept talking about how he loves the atmosphere and I said wait until you get to the game and the place is packed, and then you’ll really see. He also asked me some of the reasons I picked Arizona and I told him that the Pac-12 and Arizona is a great place to play. The coaches are great, they have a winning tradition and if you have NBA aspirations, they will help you get there.
I also told him that I’m looking forward to playing with great players like him and that’s all coach Miller recruits, quality guys that want to win. It’s important to surround yourself with great players, so we both become better everyday.
I know the coaches are going to push for him, and I’d love to play with him, but I’m happy with whoever is added because I know he will be a great player and team guy.
WA: Are you taking back any lasting memories and what’s your plan for the remainder of the year?
Simon: Honestly, the whole trip was amazing, but the game was so exciting. The dunk contest was cool and it was fun to see the team split up and go hard at each other.
I’m just getting ready for my senior season now. We’re working out hard and we’re chasing the state championship.