With the coach on hand and Pack fans in the stands West Brunswick and Simmons took center stage against Cardinal Gibbons of Raleigh. However, a sluggish start doomed the West Brunswick Trojans and Simmons' team fell 57-42.
Monty Sanders, the son of former Harlem Globetrotter Twiggy Sanders, scored 29 points to fuel Cardinal Gibbons. Sanders signed with Richmond during the early signing period.
The future Spider burned it up from short and mid-range (see shot chart) and made a pair of 3-pointers for his points. He shot an impressive 11-for-15 from the field. Sanders played totally within himself and didn't force his offense. A likely small forward on the college level, Sanders pulled double-duty and played both forward positions on Saturday.
While things couldn't have gone better for Sanders, Simmons and his team struggled. For starters, the Trojans had a difficult time feeding their franchise big man. West Brunswick has only had the full team together for a few days due to the football season.
The scenario for Simmons is one that gets repeated around the nation quite often. He's the best player on a team that will rely on him to pretty much do it all. From having to play the role of inside presence, scorer, rebounder and sometimes offensive creator, the going can get rough.
Also like a lot of bigs on the high school level, he's going to be on the receiving end of double and triple teams, guards constantly swiping at the ball and defenses focusing on slowly him down.
Simmons is a much better prospect than the 13 points and 9 rebounds he came up with on Saturday might indicate. He shot 6-for-12 from the floor and an uncharacteristic 1-for-6 from the line to go with just 9 rebounds.
For his team to be successful this season, he's got to be more energetic at both ends, change ends faster and often times become a little selfish. Now that that secret is out of the bag – he's our No. 21 player in the country – he'll draw all kinds of defenses. For the most part, he's going to be responsible for creating his own chances and that means getting on the glass and making his presence felt.
For a prospect his stature who won't face players his caliber on a weekly basis during the high school season, success will be measured in different ways. He'll be judged by his production, intensity and ability to dominate.
Other Scores From The Capital Tip-Off Classic
Greenville Rose 74, Broughton 51: Freshman Brock Young scored 24 in the loss for Broughton.
Lee County 68, Jacksonville 41: Jacksonville's Jamal Shuler was his team's only double-figure scorer with 25.