When Gamepoint AAU beat the vaunted Pangos Elite this past weekend at the Cream of the Crop in Garden Grove, Calif., one player in particular stood out above the rest – rising 2015 guard Justin Simon.
The 6-foot-4, 180-pounder out of Temecula (Calif.) Valley – and formerly of Corona (Calif.) Eleanor Roosevelt – scored 22 points, dished out four assists and pulled down seven boards, impressing California enough that on Tuesday, assistant coach John Montgomery extended a scholarship offer.
"First Pac-12 offer – it's really cool," Simon said. "I'm loving it right now, and hopefully, we can build a relationship with them, and keep moving forward over these next two years."
Simon had been speaking frequently with USC, and attended the Trojans' elite camp in June, but Cal beat them to the punch.
This next week, Simon and Gamepoint will travel to the Fab 48 in Las Vegas, where he looks to continue his roll.
"I think, last weekend, we did well. We made a statement. We beat one of the top teams in California – possibly the country – and we beat them by 20 points," Simon said. "We made a statement, and we beat a couple other teams. We didn't take it easy on anybody. We gave everybody our best game, and me, as a leader, I just try to lead my team to victory every game."
Though Simon is a solid shooter, observers say that it's one part of his game where he needs a bit of work, but he does do all of the little things on defense and isn't afraid to get his hands dirty.
"That's what I do. As a point guard, I have to go out, see the floor, and on defense, I'm one of the bigger guys, so I have to crash in to get the rebound and box out," said Simon.
Simon – listed as a point – profiles anywhere between a one and a three, and is most comparable to current Golden Bears sophomore Tyrone Wallace. One of the biggest similarities is the wingspan – like Wallace, Simon has superior length for a guard.
"They like my length and my athletic ability and my defense," Simon said. "They liked my versatility – I can go from a point guard to a wing to a three, and they like that about me."
Beyond just the long arms and the athletic ability, Simon also has the right attitude to fit in with Cal's way of doing business.
"They asked me what position I preferred – what position I am – and I said that I'm a team guy, and I can play from the one to the three, and I can even guard the four-man, so that's what they really like about me," Simon said.
Before Cal pulled the trigger, Simon had offers from San Jose State, Santa Clara, UC Irvine, San Diego and New Mexico, but the Bears are the first high-major to get in on the ground floor, so to speak.
"It's just new, right now, but hopefully, I can learn more," Simon said. "I've watched them play a little. I watched them play Syracuse and UNLV on TV, and that's about it."
Simon is, however, planning on checking out his first big suitor sooner, rather than later.
"I was just really excited, because the Pac-12 is a great conference, and Cal has a great atmosphere up there," Simon said of the offer. "I can't wait to visit the Bay Area. I'm really excited."
Simon also said that location is "big for me," after traveling to the Hoop Group Elite Camp back East, and that "you can't beat the weather in California," but he will consider all offers presented to him.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A previous version of this article indicated that Simon would prefer to stay in California for college. BearTerritory.net regrets the error.
Simon Talks First Pac-12 Offer
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