Second-year, men’s basketball player D’Marcus Simonds had an impressive freshman season and has the potential for a great sophomore campaign.
“You don’t know how long these special players will be here.”
That’s what Coach Hunter said about reigning Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year. And special he is. As a true freshman, Simonds shocked Georgia State and the entire Sun Belt by averaging 13.4 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists. He quickly established himself as not only Georgia State’s best player, but one of the best players in the Sun Belt — his Preseason Second Team All-Sun Belt selection is testament to that. But to Simonds, that’s still a slight.
“I don’t care what they say, no one is better than me in the conference, and there is no doubt in my mind,” said Simonds. “I am the best player in the Sun Belt.”
And based on how he started the season, Simonds may have an argument. In the first exhibition of the season, Simonds went across town and dropped 30 points on last season’s National Invitational Tournament (NIT) championship runner-ups, Georgia Tech, showing a sneak peek of what to expect this season.
“Yeah honestly, that’s around where my average is going to be this season,” said Simonds.
It wouldn’t surprise Coach Ron Hunter either. He’s expecting “a very special season” from Simonds this year.
“With D’Marcus, you got a really talented player, who the game has slowed down for, and he’s extremely confident right now,” said Coach Hunter. “When you put those three things together, it’s unbelievable.”
Confidence. That may be the biggest thing about Simonds- – if he lacks anything, it definitely isn’t confidence. It didn’t take long for him to build it on the college level either.
”I’ll say that confidence got to me about five or six games in last year,” said Simonds. “I realized I was one of the best players on the court every night and that I can take over games when needed.”
His teammates are just as confident in him too. They know how important he is to this team.
“We just try to keep his confidence up and keep him aggressive,” said Jordan Sessions. “I tell him all the time to go ahead and go, we’ll live with the result. We can make up for his mistakes.”
His teammates are huge to Simonds’ success, and he’s very appreciative of that.
“My teammates save me every night,” said Simonds “If I’m off, I know they’ll hit the open threes. If I miss an assignment on defense, I know Sesh (Jordan Sessions) will be there or Jeff [Thomas] will be there.”
Simonds has it all this season: a great team around him, supreme confidence and years’ worth of experience under his belt.
His expectations are also crystal clear this season.
“The Sun Belt Championship and Sun Belt Player of the Year,” said Simonds. “I’m going to take and lead this team to a Sun Belt Championship, in all aspects of the game.”
And he said that with the utmost confidence. He knows what he’s capable of and the entire team does too. Coach Hunter said it best.
“He’s a very special basketball player, who I think is going to have a very special year.”