It’s not often that a five-star point guard commits to a school that doesn’t appear be recruiting the player as hard as others, but appearances aren't what they seem with Alpharetta (Ga.) 2017 prospect Kobi Simmons.
“People forget that Arizona was basically the first school in on Kobi,” said Simmons’ father, Desmond Stephens. “I’ve known Coach Miller and Coach Book for years because I’m originally from Cincinnati.
“There were other prominent schools that were in on Kobi, but it basically came down to Arizona and UNLV and it wasn’t that hard of a decision because Arizona is the blue blood out west and there is stability there that isn’t presently at UNLV. Then you factor in that Arizona’s head coach was a point guard and a really good one at that.”
Arizona’s location and style of play was a big factor in Simmons’ decision.
“I wanted to send him out west and when we looked around at the schools recruiting Kobi they just weren’t the fit that Arizona was," Stephens said.
"The Big Ten wasn’t really an option. Kobi is like a gazelle. He wants to get out and run and doesn’t want to be confined to a box, kind of like the way Big Ten teams play.
“Plus, Ohio State isn’t going anywhere. They pretty much lost their entire recruiting class.”
Stephens and Simmons have been preparing for the next step for a while.
“I knew Kobi had a real shot of being special by about his 9th grade year," Stephens said. "The AAU coaches were pestering me to let him play on the 17U team and at first I was resistant to the idea because I wanted my son to play.
"I gave in after a while and not only did he play, he was excelling to the point that I knew this kid could really have a special future in basketball. We believe Arizona is the best place for Kobi to continue to improve on his promise.”