Key Coogs: Freshman guard provides much-needed depth
Freshman guard Jaaron Simmons was asked to be the next man up early in the season, due to injuries to multiple guards. Adapting the pace of actual gameplay has been one of the more challenging aspects in his learning process.
Simmons has played in all 20 games for the Cougars, providing depth to a crowded backcourt, and he has seen his playing time increase as the season has advanced. His role on the team might not shine from a statistical standpoint, but it’s the little things on the court he does that bring value to this team.
The Cougars will need his skills as they travel to face Connecticut on Thursday.
“It feels pretty good to know that the coaches see me as a piece of the team and think that I can produce and help this team win,” Simmons said.
He has been learning where different players on the team like to score the ball, and he has also had to remind himself to slow down and stay with everybody, because the game is very different from the practices, according to Simmons.
With the point guard having to be the general out there, Jaaron tries to be both a vocal leader and an in-game lead-by-example type of leader.
“I try to lead by example and play hard on defense, and I try to be a vocal leader by relaying the message the coach gives me to the players on the floor,” Simmons said.
Simmons stepped up during the injuries to Danuel House, L.J. Rose and Tione Womack. He knows that being a freshman, improvements come through time and the best way to get better is by experience.
“I have to continue to improve my jump shot, my decision-making skills and improve my all-around game in order to be the player I want to be,” Simmons said.