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Five-star PG Kobi Simmons takes final visit

Kobi Simmons finished the visit portion of his recruiting process this past weekend and his father -- Demond Stephens -- broke down his trips and where things stand.

Five-star point guard Kobi Simmons took his third and final scheduled official visit this past weekend. Simmons, who previously visited UNLV and Kentucky, traveled to Columbus (Ohio) to spend a couple days with Thad Matta and his staff at Ohio State.

“Matta really told him that he’s been [recruiting him] for three years and how much he really trusts Kobi,” Simmons’ father Demond Stephens told Scout. “He talked about the things he needs to fix and things he needs to work on.”

Stephens pointed out how long the Buckeyes have been recruiting Simmons and how they haven’t wavered throughout the process.

“Thad has been there and stayed in contact,” he added. “They’ve had big guards. What I was impressed with and I told Kobi is their guys didn’t come out for a show for him. They were out there for four to eight days training. Michael Conley, Evan [Turner], [Michael] Redd and D’Angelo [Russell], they weren’t there to see Kobi for two hours. They’ve been there.”

During the visit the OSU staff compared Simmons to Russell in some ways, but Stephens was also impressed that they pointed out the differences as well.

“I like how they separated it, because they are alike, but they are different,” he said. “They had an incredible film session. That’s where I was impressed with them and UNLV, the way they take tape on Synergy and show him how he fits right in. That was so impressive the way Matta did that also. He loved it. My wife likes people that are personal, so I think that goes a long way with her.”

Simmons, a standout at Alpharetta (Ga.) St. Francis, also got to spend quite a bit of time with Russell.

“It was great,” Stephens said. “Daniel was his host, but D’Angelo took time out of his life. He talked to Kobi for like three hours.”

Stephens also pointed out the trust Matta shows in his player and that was among the biggest things that stood out to him during the trip.

“The stuff with Michael Conley and D’Angelo Russell was great because they took two different routes, but both did the same thing,” Stephens said. “Matta trusted them. As a point guard or a quarterback you have to know your coach trusts you or you won’t be at your best.  That went a long way with Kobi.”

The week before the OSU visit, Simmons was in Las Vegas to visit UNLV. The player development from the assistant coaches was among the biggest takeaways from the visit.

“To see Derrick Jones, who I’ve been seeing since eighth grade, working on patting the ball and putting in time in the gym,” he said. “Ryan Miller is for real with the ball and training. He’s not out there babying them. You can tell when a coach is putting on a show. He snapped on those dudes. The way he was working them was real. It was big for him to see [Stacey] Augmon and Miller because they are trainers.”

“They did a great job,” he added. [Stephen] Zimmerman and [Derrick] Jones talked to him,” he added. “Stacey’s wife was huge and Zimmerman’s mother too.” 

Simmons began the visit process with a trip to Kentucky during the last weekend of August.

“They are still recruiting him,” Stephens said of Kentucky. “But I don’t think he realized how good some of these others places could be until he opened his mind up.”

What stood out about the Kentucky visit?

“Really just watching how the kids are there working on themselves and seeing [Isaiah] Briscoe,” he said. “I knew Kenny [Payne] would challenge Briscoe to work on that North/South and not a lot of Barry Sanders East/West. You could see in the scrimmage he was fighting to do those things, so that means that he’s buying into what [John Calipari] and Kenny tell him.”

At this point, Simmons hasn’t set a timetable for making his college decision, but with his three official visits complete a decision is expected in the fall.

“I told him not to put pressure on himself with a date,” Stephens said. “That is going to force the decision. He wants to do it before hoop season, so he has until November. I’m happy that he’s down to these three.”

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