Simmons Working Way Toward Lottery

Cedric Simmons was as shocked as anyone when Herb Sendek left N.C. State for Tempe, but he also had a good idea that it wasn't going to affect him as much as his teammates. That's because Simmons had already informed Sendek that he was planning on testing the waters prior April 1.

Cedric Simmons was as shocked as anyone when Herb Sendek left N.C. State for Tempe, but he also had a good idea that it wasn't going to affect him as much as his teammates.

However, it wasn't until Simmons got solid information that he would be selected in the top half of the first round that he decided to sign with an agent.

"I figured that I could work my way into the lottery and that was enough for me," Simmons said. "I just had to get my parents comfortable with the situation."

Simmons, who could very well be playing himself into the lottery, is one of the more intriguing frontline players in the draft. After barely playing as a freshman at N.C. State, the 6-foot-9, 223-pound North Carolina native was the Wolfpack's best player this past season after Julius Hodge's departure.

He put up 28 points and nine boards against Duke and showed enough glimpses of his potential that NBA executives are intrigued enough to consider him as a possible lottery pick.

However, while he holds no grudge against Sendek, Simmons did acknowledge that the Princeton-style offense may not have suited his game.

"I didn't really get to show my face-up game," he said.

Simmons has already worked out for New York, Philadelphia and Boston – which holds the seventh pick in the June 28 draft. He plans to work out for all 30 teams in a session prior to the predraft camp in Orlando this week.

"Ced has outstanding potential as an NBA player," Sendek said of his former player. "He's so talented and coachable."

"He's versatile, has terrific length and is able to be an effective rebounder and shot-blocker," he added. "He's got excellent hands and he can score with his left or right hand around the basket."

Simmons displayed an improved jump shot from mid-range in the workout in Boston — and also was measured with a 7-foot-4 wingspan. He'll need to add strength, especially in his lower body, but Sendek couldn't say enough positive things about Simmons.

"He's as coachable as anybody and is a tremendous young man," Sendek said. "He's as team-oriented as anyone you're going to encounter and has all the intangibles any coach would want."

Good riddance
UConn's Josh Boone made it official on Monday that he is staying in the NBA draft, but Huskies coach Jim Calhoun likely isn't losing any sleep over Boone's departure.

The 6-foot-10 junior big man and Calhoun didn't exactly see eye to eye this past season. Boone, despite still being a fringe first-round pick who could fall into the second round, would have likely disrupted the chemistry of a young team that this past week picked up a commitment from the top unsigned senior —7-foot-2 Hasheem Thabeet.

Thabeet is a late bloomer who spent this past season at Cypress Community Christian (Texas). He'll be more physically imposing than Boone and could be a lottery pick after a year or two in Storrs.

According to sources close to the situation, Boone's mother was the one who was pushing hard for him to remain in the draft despite questions from NBA types about his attitude and love for the game.

Boone took a step back this past season after averaging 12.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks as a sophomore. He averaged 10.3 points, 7 boards and 2 blocks as a junior.

Texas three-step?
Texas has watched as LaMarcus Aldridge and P.J. Tucker have both signed with agents. At one time, the Longhorns coaching staff felt like Daniel Gibson was a lock to follow. Now, the staff feels it's a coin flip on whether or not the combo guard returns for his junior season.

Still on point
Memphis coach John Calipari is hardly holding his breath as Darius Washington Jr. waits to make a decision on whether he'll return for another year of college.

The Tigers have Willie Kemp coming in as a freshman and also have Andre Allen – both of which will give Memphis more stability with the ball in their hands.

Jeff Goodman is a senior college basketball writer for He can be reached at

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