2017 Intro: Tariq Simmons

Regional high-majors increasingly are making a play for Tariq Simmons, a sophomore who performed very well at times at the Chick-Fil-A Classic.

South Carolina is on a big run these days. The Palmetto State has produced nationally significant prospects such as P.J. Dozier and Tevin Mack in 2015, Seventh Woods in 2016 and Jalek Felton in 2017.

And while he may not yet possess the credentials held by those highly touted prospects, Tariq Simmons is pushing toward national relevance during his sophomore year at Columbia (S.C.) Keenan. The talented guard led his team past Felton and Mullins (S.C.) High last week, and he'll continue to draw admirers if he shoots so accurately from behind the arc.

Simmons has a lean, compact frame and, at 6-2, is tall if one considers him a point guard. And there's the rub: What position is he?

He's best described as a combo for the time being, as he likes to score and spends a lot of time off the ball, but he also can run the offense and is sufficiently quick for the point guard slot.

For his part, Simmons has a clear preference.

"I definitely want to be a point guard in college," Simmons said. "Scoring is something I do well, but I need to work on my defense, too."

Simmons played for the 15-under Upward Stars — Dozier's program as well — and said he plans to run with them again in 2015. As he closes out what he hopes continues to be a strong sophomore campaign, he'll have an opportunity to make an even greater impression on coaches.

"Already, he's drawing interest from ACC and SEC programs.

"My schools are Stephen F. Austin, Clemson, Charleston and South Carolina," he said. "Stephen F. Austin has offered."

Those schools are others likely will appreciate his measured pace. For a young guard, Simmons tends to play within himself and adhere to the team concept. Combined with a smooth jump shot, that's a tantalizing combination for coaches to evaluate in the coming months.

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