Draft Night is Here For Cedric Simmons

Cedric Simmons declared for the NBA Draft following his sophomore season, and that decision appears to have been a wise move as he is likely to be selected in the first round of tonight's 2006 NBA Draft.

Cedric Simmons declared for the NBA Draft following his sophomore season, and that decision appears to have been a wise move as he is likely to be selected in the first round of tonight's 2006 NBA Draft.

Simmons has seen his draft stock rise this spring after turning in several outstanding workouts for NBA teams. Following his sophomore season, the power forward surprised most by entering the draft, and he was quickly projected to go late in the first round or early in the second. Now he is considered a lock for the first round with most mock drafts having him being chosen between 7-19.

Granted, that is a wide range of possibilities, but Simmons knows that his spot is secure. He just doesn't know which team will select him.

"I don't think that the top five players have any feel where they are going," Simmons told Scout.com's Jeff Goodman. "All the teams tell me the same thing. They like me, and I've got a bright future."

After tonight, Simmons will know where his professional career begins. He could end up a Seattle Supersonic, as reports suggest the Western Conference team would love to snatch him up with the No. 10 pick.

Maybe the Boston Celtics select him even before that at No. 7, as Celtic GM Danny Ainge brought Simmons in for another workout on Monday. Also brought in by Ainge was Villanova guard Randy Foye, and two of the top point guard prospects, UCONN's Marcus Williams and Kentucky's Rajon Rando.

"All the teams tell me the same thing. They like me, and I've got a bright future."

Goodman wrote in his latest FoxSports.com article that according to sources close to the Celtics, Foye and Simmons are two players whom Ainge has targeted for the No. 7 pick.

"Those are the two main guys right now," the source stated.

"It makes sense since Foye would give them someone that could provide some dribble-penetration, which is clearly lacking on the team," Goodman said. "Simmons would provide a different look up front — a long, athletic shot-blocker who would give the Celtics a complement to rugged big men Kendrick Perkins and Al Jefferson."

Some scouts are saying he won't get past the New Orleans Hornets, who own the No. 12 and No. 15 picks respectively. Any big man like Simmons would love to head down to New Orleans and play with Rookie of the Year point guard Chris Paul.

Other late projections have Simmons headed to Philadelphia, as the 76ers own the No. 13 pick in the draft. The Sixers could be looking to trade center Samuel Dalembert and Simmons is enough of a defensive presence to provide early minutes in the middle. He is often compared to Theo Ratliff, one of the league's best shot blockers and a player who spent considerable time in Philadelphia.

What if the Phoenix Suns choose to trade up and select Simmons as an insurancy policy for superstar Amare Stoudamire?

As you can tell, no one really knows where Simmons, or any of the top prospects, will end up as this is the most unpredictable drafts in years. However, all indications are that he will be the second-straight NC State player picked in the draft's first round, joining Julius Hodge. The former Wolfpack guard was chosen by the Denver Nuggets with the 20th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.

Simmons averaged 11.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks as a sophomore, earning honorable mention All-ACC honors. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound center was also named to the 2005-06 ACC All-Defensive Team.

The two-round draft begins at 7:00 p.m. EDT at the Theater at Madison Square Garden and is televised on ESPN.


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