“I went from 5-7, 5-8 to 6-3 in about four months.” Jonathan Simmons told Ken Rodriquz of Spurs.com
And that’s how you become a basketball player.
But growing physically wasn’t the most surprising or important thing to the Houston, Texas native.
“It’s kind of hard to make it out of [my] area.” Simmons continued.
“M.B. Smiley High School has over a 40% drop out rate, according to a John Hopkins University study.
“I almost dropped out. I never had the ambition that I was going to play college or pro basketball.”
Before Simmons played for University of Houston, he sat out the 2010-11 season because he missed graduating by one class. He then played a year at Paris Junior College and Midland College.
He went undrafted after averaging almost 15 points per game at UH. He averaged 36.5 points per game for Sugarland in the ABL.
Finally, he attended a Toros tryout.
Simmons has been under the radar for most of his young career. But Toros head coach Ken McDonald certainly sees the talent.
“He’s a very exciting prospect. He’s big, extremely athletic, agressive. He’s got a lot of tools to work with. We think they sky’s the limit for him,” said McDonald.
McDonald couldn’t stop gushing about Simmons’ abilities.
“He stood above most with his speed and athleticism. He’s a good defender, has length. He came in with a good approach and attitude. He’s coachable.”
But Simmons needs to realize that legitimate NBA players are going to often be in between Spurs and Toros rosters. For example, his D-League debut resulted in just four points from Simmons; but in his second game, he posted 19 points and tallied seven rebounds.
“He has his moments. When you are Jonathan, you have to wait your turn,” says McDonald. “We have other players with a lot of experience. In tight games, it can be frustrating. But when he gets his opportunities, he makes athletic plays.”
Now that he’s finally out of a bad area, Simmons not only has an opportunity to make an NBA roster, but he also can turn his life around in a way that he never even imagined.