Jaaron Simmons – The Art of the Assist< < Back to
Point guards have the power to play at the pace of their liking and to a certain degree, dictate who gets to shoot when and how often.
After heading into halftime with a 16-point lead over Northern Illinois on February 6, Ohio found itself down 60-59 with nine and a half minutes remaining in the game. Coach Saul Phillips and the Bobcats leaned on the poise and leadership of their point guard, Jaaron Simmons, to take over.
He scored or assisted on 15 of Ohio’s final 16 points as the Bobcats rallied to a 80-69 victory. After the game, head coach Saul Phillips expressed the utmost confidence in his floor general.
“I’m going to let everyone in on a little secret,” Phillips said. “Jaaron Simmons is pretty good. In a lot of ways he had that look in his eye like we’re not losing today, it’s just not happening.
The sophomore transfer is the definition of a team first player. He averages eight assists per game, ranking him third in NCAA Division 1 basketball.
“After games he runs over to a stat sheet to see how many assists and turnovers he had in the game,” Phillips said with a grin. “I don’t think he even takes a peak at the points…well he might look over there.”
Simmons dished out 17 assists and scored 12 points in his fourth double-double of the season with in Ohio’s comeback victory over Toledo on January 26.
His 17 assists not only tied former Ohio point guard DJ Cooper’s school and Mid-American Conference record, it remains the highest number of assists recorded by any player in the nation this season.
“A lot of people like scoring and I like scoring too but I really like passing and seeing my teammates happy.” Simmons said. “That’s the most important thing to me, seeing them happy.”
After appearing in 32 games for Houston during the 2013-14 season, Simmons requested a release and sought a transfer in hopes of playing closer to home, which brought him to Athens.
Per NCAA regulations, Simmons was forced to sit out the 2014-15 season. He utilized his year away from competing by developing closer relationships with his teammates and analyzing their chemistry.
“A big part of what I was doing last year was watching my guys play and seeing how they like the ball,” Simmons said.
Simmons is roommates with junior forward Tony Campbell and Michigan State transfer Kenny Kaminski. Their chemistry and friendship off the court seems to make them even stronger as a unit on the floor.
“We sit and talk about the game and things we can do better,” Simmons said. “That’s a big help to the team. “
Without a signature backup point guard, Simmons averages 35.6 minutes a game.
In addition to his 8 assists per game, Simmons also averages 14 points per contest.
Coach Phillips speaks highly of the Houston transfer any chance he gets in post game press conferences and expresses the upmost confidence that his point guard can get everyone on the floor involved and lead them to success.
“I judge his effectiveness in the game by how he gets others involved and if we win or lose,” Phillips said. “That’s a pretty black and white way to look at it but he responds pretty well to that.”