Alex Simmons, a 2015 Bryan County graduate, has been named to the all-freshman basketball team for the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association.
The 6-foot-6 power forward at Gordon State College will play in the GCAA’s all-star game at 4 p.m. Saturday at Central Georgia Technical College. The top sophomores play at 6 p.m.
“This is an opportunity for these players to be seen by four-year colleges in hopes that they can continue their playing careers,” Gordon State coach Bruce Capers said. “Alex has already drawn interest from just about all of the schools in the Peach Belt Conference and even a few Division I schools.”
“It was a big adjustment at first, because everyone at this level is stronger and faster,” he said. “After the first couple of games, coach told me I could have a big role on the team and needed to step up.”
Simmons finished fourth in the GCAA in field goal percentage at 58.3, averaging 7.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game for the Highlanders. He also shot 54.5 percent from behind the 3-point line. He said his high shooting percentage is the result of focus and taking smart shots.
“Alex came in and worked very hard to sculpt his body to get stronger and quicker,” Capers said. “He’s a lot to deal with down on the block so he drew a lot of double-teams from defenses.”
Capers said Simmons is also effective against taller defenders because of his shooting ability.
“He can step out and hit a 3 if he has to, and he rebounds well,” he said.
Simmons said it was after a game early in the season -- a 73-71 win over Central Georgia Tech -- that he knew he had arrived. He finished with 16 points on 7 for 9 shooting from the field and made both free throw attempts. He also pulled down seven rebounds and had two steals.
“That’s probably the game I’m most proud of,” he said. “Coach told the guards to keep getting me the ball because the other team couldn’t stop me.”
Capers said Simmons needs to improve his ball handling and passing before he can play at a four-year college, but knows he’s a hard worker.
“As long as he continues to get better and keeps on top of his academics, he can write his own ticket,” Capers said.
Simmons said he’d like to play at a four-year school in Georgia so family and friends can attend games.