Some star and go unrecognized. Case in point, Cedric Simmons (6'9" 200 PF * West Brunswick) from Shallotte NC. He is a virtual unknown outside of eastern NC. Perhaps it is because major media only passes through Wilmington on the way to the Crystal Coast. Or maybe the glamour AAU teams get the ink from circuit traveling recruiting gurus. Perhaps the lack of an invitation to ABCD or Nike caused the oversight. We cannot be sure, but let it be known, that despite being overlooked by the shoe camps, not playing for the AAU Wolfgators, and in spite of a sleeping media, Cedric Simmons may have played his way to the forefront of the Class of 2004 the old fashion way, by being a "diamond in the rough".
Cedric plays for a recently formed AAU squad, the Wilmington Warriors. He has been impressive during the summer of 2002 circuit, building his reputation in tough tournaments such as the Charlie Webber Invitational and the Pepsi Challenge.
We interviewed Warrior head coach Nathan Faulk about his talented big man and the progress he made this summer. "Cedric is a very skilled player. He runs the floor well for a 6'9" guy and he can drain the 15 footer in transition. He is a threat from the 3 point area, but he also has great skills down low. His stats at the Charlie Weber Invitational was 17 pts 4 blks a game. He had a real good showing, got into foul trouble two of the three games which really hurt his stats, but the time on floor was good."
Cedric has received some recruiting interests despite the lack of notoriety. NC State as well as UNC-Wilmington have offered, while Wake Forest is showing interest. But do not look for a commitment anytime soon. Coach Faulk said, "We do not expect Cedric to make a decision until after AAU ball next year. He has been advised to just enjoy the process."
It is also important to note that Cedric has all the desired attributes in a player. According to Coach, Nathan is a one of the nicest kids around. "He comes from a great Christian family and they have instilled good ethics and morals. He is a talented player who is also a great kid. He is the total package and the kind of kid that will be a valuable asset for any college program."
During his sophomore year at West Brunswick, Simmons averaged 10.5 ppg while swatting 2.9 blocks per game. Look for those numbers to rise this winter as well as his reputation with the sleeping experts. The best kept secret may just be the best player from the Class of 2004 in North Carolina.