Since I am a huge fan of the NBA G league, here is an inspiring story of a G league player.
Today I will be discussing his story.
For his entire life he was always doubted and never appreciated, he was never a top college or even high school recruit and was never on any top 100 recruiting rankings in the country. His basketball wasn't going good and he even thought about dropping out because he didn't see his basketball career takeoff, nobody like I mean nobody knew who he was until he got to the NBA.
He was born on September 14, 1989 and at 16 years of age he was only 5'7 and considered dropping out, a study on the school showed that 40% of freshman weren't there senior year and that they had dropped out, so this wasn't uncommon for Simmons and the school. By his junior year he grew and became 6'3 and got college offers from Texas A&M and Marquette, but during his senior year he reached 6'6 and he was dominating his peers, he was so dominant he won co-MVP owners from his district, you would think he would be set up to go play division 1 basketball right away. But he was putting so much time, effort and focus into basketball that he forgot about school, with his academic struggles it forced him to go the junior college route instead, and he wasn't able to play for any division 1 schools because he couldn't keep his GPA up. So he had to play his first year at Paris Junior College in Texas.
His first year he averaged 12.2 points on 56% shooting which earned him all conference honors. For his sophomore season Simmons transferred to Midland Junior College.
He averaged 13.3 points and 4 rebounds, with his good play he signed a letter of intent and he transferred to Houston. He had to sit out that whole year because of the NCAA transfer rule. Fast forward a season and as a junior at Houston it was time for him to show everyone what he was all about, he was named to the all college classic and earned conference player of the week.
When the season ended he averaged 14.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, he was ranked 8th in conference USA scoring, clearly a huge improvement. With all that going on Simmons decided to declare for the 2012 NBA Draft. He was ready to be drafted but sadly never did, he went undrafted, he never had a chance to get signed and since he declared he never could go back to college. He was basically at square one, he had a 9-5 job and his dreams were almost over, he was planning on becoming a full time barber. At that time there was a new league on the rise called the American Basketball League, he decided to try out and he got drafted in the first round. There was no competition in that league and he was averaging 36.5 points a game! Nobody was on his level, but since the league didn't have competition no scouts bothered to show up. Simmons was just playing for the fun of it and just to keep his skills in check. Playing in high school games and the ABL he realized how far he was from the NBA. Few weeks go by and luckily the the Spurs D league team at the time were having an open tryout for all players to show there skill. Simmons was a guy who never gave up and always used every opportunity for the best of him, to get into the tryout he payed $150, most of the players weren't anywhere close has Simmons was. The coaches knew that Simmons had the potential to be the best player ever from an open tryout. With his performance he earned a invitation to the Training camp, and made the opening night roster.
At the end of the 2013-14 season Simmons averaged 9.8 points in 23 minutes per game. It isn't spectacular, at this time Simmons thought about giving up on basketball to go work a 9-5 job so he could pay for his four daughters, because everyone knows the D league didn't pay well until it became the G league, so he couldn't support his family. Simmons went by a saying... "i am just going to wing it".
The next season Simmons was moved to the point guard position and this gave him an opportunity to hold the ball for longer and create more, it also suited his playing style.
At the end of the 2014-15 season Simmons was averaging 15.2 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, a huge jump from the last season. He even led the team to the D league western conference finals. He was now on the NBA radar, he was invited to the D league elite mini camp which had tons of scouts there to see every prospect.
During the testing Simmons had a 38 inch vertical which was way above the NBA average at that time of 28 inches. His vertical explains all the high flying dunks you see today.
After the summer league he received a call from his agent, his agent said " you are now an NBA player, the Spurs gave him a two year deal. After hearing the great news he broke into tears right away, he called his mom and they talked on the phone for hours. He had to go right away for summer league even though he didn't even have to play, he worked extremely;y hard there and brought his team to the championship.
To start the new season of he started on the bench, but by December he was in the rotation and by January he was guarding Steph Curry. He played on average 14 minutes a game that season.
Since then Simmons has had 4 successful seasons in the NBA with one season averaging 13.9 points per game. He turned $150 dollars and hard work into multi millions paying his favorite sport. Right now he is playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the G league and he is putting up 19.6 points per game.
That is the story of Jonathon Simmons