Anfernee Simons shows Lakers he’s ready for NBA after unusual route to pre-draft workout

first_imgEL SEGUNDO — Anfernee Simons’ route to his pre-draft workout Tuesday with the Lakers was an unusual one.Then again, what was so different about it?Simons’ journey could become commonplace sooner rather than later, as more NBA hopefuls forgo the well-worn path from high school to college to the pros. Simons, an 18-year-old guard, skipped college in favor of a fifth year of high school before declaring for the June 21 draft.After attending Edgewater High in Orlando, Fla., Simons planned to play at the University of Louisville. But when Louisville became a target of an FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball, Simons decommitted and enrolled at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersSimons averaged 22.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 2017-18 at IMG, a prep school and sports academy founded by renowned tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, who tutored and mentored Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Mary Pierce and Monica Seles, among many others.Sign up for Home Turf and get 3 exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.Simons’ athleticism and versatility caught the attention of scouts at the NBA Draft Combine last month in Chicago. Additional pre-draft workouts have taken him from Chicago to Phoenix to Portland and El Segundo in recent days, with more stops to come, including Utah, Orlando and New York.His goal during his workout with the Lakers was simple.“Me being so young, I just wanted to show them I could play with anybody,” he said.He didn’t believe skipping college puts him at a disadvantage. Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years “At IMG, it’s kind of like a college year, so I was able to get strong in the weight room, and I feel like that helped me, as well,” said Simons, who entered high school standing only 5-foot-9, but was measured at 6-4 during the draft combine.Asked about his IMG experience, he said, “Everybody plays a sport, so everybody has their goals, their aspirations. It’s more a business side to it. Everybody likes to have fun, but at the same time we know when it’s time to take care of business, it’s time to take care of business.”Simons acknowledged his decision to forgo college was a topic of conversation during interviews with NBA teams during his pre-draft workouts. Only a handful of players have skipped college before entering the draft, with some spending their one-and-done season in Europe instead.He hoped it wouldn’t be a factor in his selection, though.“I just tell them I’m confident I can make the jump,” said Simons, who worked out under the watchful eyes of Lakers executives Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka. “When I go out there, I feel like I can do everything well. I want to show when I have a ball in my hands, I can do everything.“I can shoot, pass, rebound, play defense.”Simons also said he hoped he’s not the last NBA hopeful to skip college.“I think some will, depending on if they’re confident enough to do it,” he said of others possibly following his path. “I feel like a lot of kids are confident enough, but it takes certain players to do it. I feel like if they’re confident enough they can do it and go ahead and make the jump.”Simons was one of six players who worked out Tuesday for the Lakers, joining Khadeen Carrington of Seton Hall, Gyorgy Goloman of UCLA, William McDowell-White from Australia, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk of Kansas and William Lee of Alabama-Birmingham.Related Articles Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed last_img