Location: Broughton High School (Raleigh, NC)
Final Score: Cardinal Gibbons 57 West Brunswick 42
Cedric Simmons Stat Sheet: 13 Points (6-12 FG 1-6 FT) 11 Rebounds 6 Blocks
Game Analysis: West Brunswick had no answer for 6'5 Richmond signee Monty Sanders. The son of ex-Harlem Globetrotter Twiggy Sanders, Monty tallied 29 points in a variety of ways against the Trojans. The Crusaders used a pesky zone to sag back on Trojan star Cedric Simmons, who drew double and triple-teams in the post. Simmons was frustrated throughout, and Cardinal Gibbons jumped out to an 18-point halftime lead, while coasting to an easy victory over West Brunswick.
Simmons Evaluation: Cedric has really improved his body over the past year, adding muscle and strength to his long, lean frame. Ced's probably 15-20 pounds heavier then he was at last season's Glaxo Invitational, and the added weight will only help him battle in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He's blessed with extremely long arms and outstanding jumping ability, a Chris Wilcox-like athlete. Physically, Simmons is well on his way to being able to contribute from day one at NC State, and with another full year to continue training, there is no doubt that he'll be ready.
Cedric displayed decent touch on the day, but he's shown better in previous performances. He was only 1-6 from the free throw line, and 0-2 from 3-point range. His form is above-average for a player his size, but appears to shoot from his palm at times... a mistake that can easily be corrected.
Simmons did showcase a nice baseline turnaround jumper and a few drop-step post moves in the paint, added facets to his game from last season. It's obvious that he's improved his footwork and continues to work hard to become a better player. He spent this summer working on his footwork in Raleigh with a local training staff, and it is showing in his game. He appeared to have added confidence in his post-game and was generally assertive when he received the ball on the block.
Cedric does an outstanding job of attempting to finish strong around the basket. Anything near the rim, he's going to dunk... or at least try to (he missed two follow-jams today). His athleticism allows him to do this and that's why he compares more so to the aforementioned Wilcox then ex-Wolfpacker Josh Powell. No missed lay-ups from going up soft with Simmons.
Defensively and on the boards, Cedric is always going to be a force. He finished with 11 rebounds and 6 blocks respectively, numbers that he posted with ease. He rebounds the ball high and with both hands, and showed a nice knack for keeping blocked shots inbounds, a trait made famous by ex-Wake Forest Demon Deacon Tim Duncan. At 6-9 and in the 225 pound range, Simmons can play center on the collegiate level, and will add a new dimension to N.C. State's frontcourt defense next season.
At times Cedric appears to be complacent on the court, looking as if he's disinterested. That could be due to the lack of cohesion on his team (they have only practiced together as a full squad for 4 days) and the frustration that it has caused. Simmons was visibly agitated by the lackluster play of his teammates, and it could have influenced his game. Several times he was open but errant passes (or no passes at all) led to turnovers instead of field goals. For West Brunswick to have a successful season, they have to make sure #44 touches the ball on every possession, and the Trojans didn't do a very good job of doing this against Cardinal Gibbons.
Final Analysis: Great, great prospect who's best days are ahead of him. Even when he didn't have the "A" game, Simmons still showed why he's so highly-regarded. He's a kid who can start from day one at N.C. State and may project into an early-entry NBA candidate at some point.
Cedric Relaxing Pre-Game
Simmons (#44) Wins Opening Tip for Trojans
Showcasing the Jumper at Halftime
NC State Coach Herb Sendek, PG Mike O'Donnell, and SG Engin Atsur were in attendance to watch Simmons