The first signee of the Paul Weir era for Lobo basketball could be one to remember.
Troy Simons, the 6-foot-1 combo guard from Polk State College in Winter Haven, Fla., who was the national junior college scoring leader this past season, decided Monday afternoon he wanted to be a Lobo, signing a National Letter of Intent to play for UNM next season.
“I liked everything about the school,” Simons told the Journal about his official recruiting visit in Albuquerque over the weekend. “…I can’t wait to play there. I hope fans are ready for this season.”
The Pittsburgh native, who averaged 26.3 points a game this past season for Polk State, said communication breakdowns led to his breaking off a commitment he had to play near home at Pitt. It was not about academics, as a Pittsburgh newspaper published, citing only an unnamed source, suggested.
Simons said he plans to be on UNM’s campus in June and liked what he saw, not only in the school and student services, but in the future teammates he met and will play with.
“Troy brings a wealth of much-needed attributes to our program,” Weir said in a news release from UNM. “His shooting ability immediately helps chip away at one of our biggest areas of concern. His toughness also lends well to how hard and aggressive we want to play. This is an exciting first step in what I hope to be a truly exceptional recruiting class.”
Simon’s junior college coach, Matt Furjanic, said the scoring stats hardly tell the story of the season his star guard had.
“He can shoot it from anywhere,” Furjanic told the Journal. “He can shoot it from NBA range. But the bigger thing is that this year, he was the only returning player with minutes from (the 2015-16 season). It was him and a ll new players and he led us in scoring constantly even though he was double-teamed every single game and they beat him up constantly defending him, but he still did his thing and led the nation in scoring.”
Simons wasn’t just a gunner, either. His 26.3 pointsa game came on an efficient 46.0 percent shooting from the field and 40.9 percent from 3-point range. He also dished out 2.4 assists a game.
And, yes. the scoring champ also boasts a bit of confidence.
Asked to describe his own game, Simons wasn’t shy.
“Probably like 2011 or 2012 D. Rose (Derrick Rose) with a jump shot,” he said of the former NBA MVP.
Over the past season, Simons said he had recruiting interest from Pitt, Iowa State, Dayton, Middle Tennessee and Texas Tech, among others.
He has been selected to play in the April 29 NJCAA All Star game in Las Vegas, Nev.
As of Monday afternoon, Weir said no other player or staff decisions had been finalized yet for the coming season.