The Terps’ hoops staff was out in full force before the holidays, and during one of the tournaments assistant Dustin Clark attended in mid-December he was able to watch 2017 power-forward offeree Aamir Simms (Blue Ridge/Dyke, Va.). The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Simms landed a UMD scholarship earlier during the month and has had relatively consistent contact with Clark since then.
“Coach Clark has been pushing for me lately. He just saw me at Bullis [Potomac, Md.] and likes the way I play,” said Simms, who claims offers from UMD, Georgetown, Miami, Va Tech, Clemson, PSU, Providence, Kansas State, Cincinnati and others. “He said I’d be a good fit at Maryland and he’d love for me to come over for a game this year. He said I’m one of the main guys [the Terps] are looking at.”
Simms isn’t sure if or when he can visit College Park, Md., but he has been on campus before. Back in June, when Clark first took note of him on the AAU circuit with Team Loaded, the forward and his father trekked up to UMD.
“I toured the school and it was really, really nice. I enjoyed myself,” Simms said. “I liked the campus, and the arena was really cool. It’s a great atmosphere there at Maryland. I liked the look of the school, and also how it’s not too far from where I live. It would be easy for my family to see me play there.”
The Blue Ridge product went on to laud UMD’s offensive style and coaching staff. He’s taken particular note of the Terps this year, mentioning their national ranking and talented squad.
“I like how the Terps play,” Simms said. “They like to run, they push the pace, and they get everyone a lot of touches. It’s a good system, and Coach [Mark] Turgeon is a good coach.”
But there’s a caveat here, and it could potentially be a significant one if UMD elects to pursue Simms in earnest. The Virginia native admitted that after Clark engaged him back in June, the assistant fell out of contact the rest of the summer and fall. (Which makes sense what with other touted forward targets on UMD's board such as Billy Preston and Jaren Jackson). Simms said Clark promptly picked up the communication only after the recruit began gathering more high-major offers.
“I think Maryland saw that Georgetown offered me and decided they needed to offer and get back on me,” Simms said.
When asked whether that could potentially diminish the Terps in his eye, Simms said: “I don’t know. I’m not sure yet.”
Either way, Simms figures to have plenty of solid options before it’s all said and done. He didn’t want to list clear frontrunners, but it’s clear Georgetown, Miami and Clemson have his attention.
“There’s a couple schools sticking out right now,” Simms said. “Georgetown is pretty big. It’s relatively close by, and I have a really good relationship with their coaches. I visited there too and liked the school a good bit. And Clemson, my teammate Scott Spencer committed there and has been kind of pulling me in. I also know [the Tigers’] one coach real well, and he’s always at my games. Then Miami, that’s another school I have a close relationship with. Their one coach [Jamal Brunt] came from Richmond, and I’ve known him for awhile. UCF is kind of in there too.”
Simms said the staffs from Georgetown, Miami, Clemson, Va Tech and UCF have been in touch most frequently. Of those, he’s visited the Canes, Hoyas and Hokies, in addition to Penn State, UVA and UMD.
“I’ve ben to Virginia Tech the most since it’s close, and I really liked the atmosphere there,” Simms said. “I was at Clemson over Thanksgiving break, and the fans were wild. I loved it there. And at Georgetown, I have to get back there, because the game I saw there they weren’t playing a high-major opponent. I didn’t get a great feel for the atmosphere [at Georgetown] yet.”
Simms will take in a couple more games this winter before embarking on campus visits during the offseason. He’s unsure exactly when he will release a leaderboard and subsequently select his college destination.
“Right now I’m focusing on my season,” Simms said. “I’ve been doing pretty well so far, just finishing around the rim; shooting the ball; rebounding; and playing defense. I still have to work on finishing over my right shoulder since I go left too much. And just staying out of foul trouble; sometimes I pick up bad fouls.”