The aptly-named Simmons developed into one of the better pure shooters in the NCAA during his two seasons at the University of Washington. He connected on 80 3-pointers as a senior, shooting them at a 41.7% clip after hitting 40.3% of his 3s as a junior. NBA 3-point range should not be an issue for Simmons. He also shot 86.8% from the free-throw line as a senior, ranking fourth in the Pac-10.
Simmons has a quick release that enabled him to get his shot off with little difficulty. He also gets good extension on the shot as a true jump-shooter. His is a self-made shot; an unreliable shooter in high school, Simmons has honed his skills over the last four years, leading to the potential for continued improvement at the NBA level.
More than just a spot-up shooter, Simmons averaged 16.0 points in just 26.2 minutes in a balanced UW offense. His 24.5 points per 40 minutes were better than Pac-10 Player of the Year Salim Stoudamire. Simmons was particularly dangerous in transition for the up-tempo Huskies, capable of either floating to the wing for a 3 or scoring in the paint.
When opponents overplay Simmons to shoot, he is capable of driving and creating his own shot.
Simmons plays the passing lanes well and averaged 1.3 steals per game as a senior.
A point guard in high school, Simmons became something of a ballhandling liability at the NCAA level. This is arguably the biggest concern about Simmons' transition to the NBA. He played primarily small forward for the Huskies but projects as a shooting guard at the NBA level. He may not be able to provide necessary ballhandling help when opponents put on pressure in the backcourt. However, Simmons did successfully play some point at the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp.
Defensively, Simmons is somewhat limited in one-on-one situations. He is not a liability, but certainly not an asset either against NBA opposition. He committed a relatively high number of fouls for a perimeter player, though this was not uncommon on the Huskies. Coach Lorenzo Romar encouraged his players to extend pressure well away from the basket, leading to a lot of non-shooting fouls.
As outstanding a shooter as Simmons is, he can be inconsistent at times. He scored just two points on 1-for-7 shooting in the Huskies Pac-10 Tournament victory over Stanford, though that was sandwiched between two double-figures efforts. It was one of five occasions during his senior season that Simmons was held scoreless. He is at his best shooting the basketball when he gets his feet set and is not nearly as effective off the dribble.
Simmons started his college career at the JC level. He averaged 29.8 points and 9.2 rebounds at Green River Community College (in the suburbs south of Seattle), scoring 50-plus points twice. ... Started slowly for Huskies as a transfer, but scored double-figures in six straight games late in the season, averaging 10.1 points off the bench in conference plays. Scored 16 points and hit four 3-pointers in upset of then-undefeated Stanford at Hec Edmunson Pavilion on Mar. 6, 2004. Fouled out with six points at Gonzaga on Dec. 1, 2004. Scored season-high 29 points twice in Pac-10 play, vs. USC (2-3) and Arizona State (2-24). Scored 24 points and hit 5 3-pointers vs. Arizona on Feb. 26, earning Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. Scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds in Pac-10 Championship game vs. Arizona on Mar. 12. Limited to 10 points in 19 minutes by foul trouble in UW's Sweet Sixteen loss to Louisville... Scored 24 points on Day 3 of the Chicago NBA Pre-Draft Camp.
The bottom of the second round of the draft is virtually impossible to predict, but Simmons has played himself into the mix for that part of the draft and will get a look as a free agent even if he goes undrafted.
It's often difficult to project coming out of college which players will stick and have success in the NBA as shooting specialists. It's often less an issue of talent and more of opportunity. Work ethic is a key, and this could be an advantage for Simmons. He did not play organized basketball until midway through high school, and then started at out at the JC level, but worked his way into an NBA prospect. He has more athleticism and a somewhat more well-rounded skill set than many players who have made an NBA living with their shooting, but that is no guarantee of success.
Cousin of former NBA player Donny Marshall, a UConn grad who spent five seasons in the NBA. Teamed with Huskies and NBA prospects Will Conroy and Brandon Roy at Garfield High School in Seattle.
Earned First-Team All-Pac-10 honors as a senior.
Ranks third amongst Washington's all-time 3-point leaders (128) after just two seasons.