Simmons continues to shine

While the University of Washington and Bank of America Arena were hosting the King Holiday Hoopfest Monday, California and Haas Pavilion were doing the same. And in a battle of the top two teams from Oakland's Metro Area, Salesian-Richmond defeated Newark Memorial by 10 behind the 17 points and nine rebounds of UW signee Desmond Simmons. Don't expect him to be happy with that rebound total.

"It's a big game for us," Simmons told this week. "It's been going pretty good. We started out pretty strong. We just want to continue it, feed off it and build on it."

So far Salesian is 16-1, their only blemish coming against Loyola from Los Angeles in a five-point loss during the Oaks Christian Holiday Hardwood Invitational. "It was good for us," Simmons said of the defeat, which happened on December 30th. "They were the best team we've played so far. We played them pretty close, but the loss has kept us level and made us work hard. It was humbling, not that we were too high on ourselves, but to just keep our focus and understand that we have to come and play every game."

The best player Simmons has faced this year was Byron Wesley, or as Simmons said, 'that kid from Eitwanda that's going to USC'. "He was pretty good," Simmons added, but the future Husky took care of business, scoring his season average of 21 points to help Salesian beat Etiwanda 55-52.

Clearly Simmons has no problems filling up the hoop, but its his 12 rebounds per game average that he takes the most pride in. "I always check my rebounds after the game to see where I'm at," he said. My goal is always around 15, 16, 17. I always try and concentrate and keep those in double-digits. I'm pretty happy being at 12, but I'm trying to get it up to 15."

When asked about improvements in his game, Simmons said that his outside shooting has gotten better, as well as his overall patience in playing the game and taking what comes to him. When it comes to his future, he talks to UW Head Coach Lorenzo Romar and Assistant Coach Paul Fortier on a weekly basis.

Simmons said he got a chance to watch the Huskies beat Cal and Stanford, but was playing and practicing when the Arizona games were being played, so he didn't see those. It's hard to tell if Simmons can sit still while he watches, knowing that a year from now he'll be one of those guys on television.

"I just picture myself out there running around with them, all over the place; in the passing lanes, trapping guys, sliding over help-side and running the court," he said. "I can picture myself running up and down the court with them."

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