Some ballers just seem to have it all. Maybe they earned it after many years of practice or perhaps their talents are symptoms of good genetics and the right upbringing. There's also the element of luck from being in the right place at the right time. However, for guys like Tre Simmons, 'the best player from Seattle to have not played in the NBA,' according to Jamal Crawford, his on-court abilities were never an issue. Education and opportunities? Now there's a different story.
Former NBA All-Star Brandon Roy and Portland Trailblazers' Crawford teamed up with Eurobasket, revealing Simmons' upbringing, college success, professional achievements and NBA dreams.
Simmons, who's been dominating the various European challenges with Czech Republic team CEZ Nymburk this season, received a tempting offer while home in Seattle, celebrating Christmas with his family. Euroleague's Khimki Moscow put a two year deal on the table, worth three times the amount of Simmons' current salary. Yet despite his numerous attempts to get released from his Czech contract, there was no chance Nymburk would let loose their leading scorer in three of the team's four competitions.
'Tre's story is different than mine and Jamal's,' explained Brandon Roy, Simmons' Garfield High School varsity teammate. 'Our story developed through basketball. We always had people around us making sure we would also handle the school side. When I first met Tre, he was just starting to develop that circle of people he needed to make sure he was doing what was necessary. We've been inseparable ever since.'
Simmons first hooped as an outsider in the parks rather than in the school gym. 'He was working out and I watched him,' Roy recalled. 'I was like, man, this dude is good. I asked my brother why he didnt play for the varsity team and he said 'Tre just never came to try out.''
'He was like 6-foot-4 but a point guard and so versatile,' Roy continued. 'I asked him if he was gonna try out and he said he might. Finally he tried out and he was that good he automatically started. You rarely get a guy who never played and then immediately becomes a starter for the top team in the state.'
Simmons and Roy eventually teamed up, challenging today's NBA phenom guard Jamal Crawford of Rainier Beach high school. By senior year, Simmons was clearly one of the top college prospects in the state. 'Tre all of a sudden is thinking like 'Wow, I got a chance to go to college?' I dont think he ever thought that was possible,' Roy supposed.
But Simmons was back on the streets once the schools checked out his academic grades.
'Tre had the same Division One talent that Jamal and I had, but the only difference was he didnt get the right schooling early on in his high school career because he didnt take it that seriously.'
Simmons ended up playing for Green River Community College where he erupted with 50+ point performances, en route to season averages of 29.8 points and 9.2 rebounds. 'We had to recruit Tre to U-Dub (University of Washington),' said Roy. 'Me and Will Conroy were always trying to get him because we knew what he could add to our team. If not for his early schooling years, he could have gone to any Division One college he wanted.'
In his junior year, Simmons joined the Huskies but was distracted by family issues and catching up academically. Two years later, Simmons, an All-Pac-10 team member, had broken school records with every stroke. His 80 treys shattered the previous school single-season record of 75 set by Deon Luton in 1998, and his 128 career 3-pointers are the third highest total in school history.
'A lot of times people wonder how come Brandon Roy just became a starter in his junior year in college and a lot of that was because Tre was that good,' explained Roy. 'I've always been a fan of Tre's, so when I was coming off the bench, I never made a fuss of it because I knew Tre was just as good.'
Click image to listen to Roy
After college graduation, Simmons heard NBA Commissioner David Stern call out 60 rookies' names, none of which were his.
'It was unfortunate and we all had our fingers crossed but he wasnt able to get drafted. He was a little disappointed but the thing about Tre is he's just one of those guys you never see being down. I mean for him to end that year not getting drafted was huge but I never seen him upset about it. He just continues to roll with the punches,' said Roy.
'Tre is one of my favorite people because he's the same every time I see him. He's always chill, laid back, and I can relate to that,' Jamal Crawford told Eurobasket.
Nowadays, after spending the first 3 1/2 years of his overseas career in Israel winning back-to-back championships, Simmons is ballin' in the Czech Republic with CEZ Nymburk where he recently collected his second State Cup title. Nymburk recently qualified for the EuroCup Elite 8 round facing Russia's Spartak SPB in a home-and-away elimination series.
'On the court, Tre is an assassin,' Crawford said. 'He can score with the best of them, has one of the best shots and is really competitive. We've had a lot of battles and there's always fun.'
During the summer, Simmons and the Seattle gang play pickup ball. 'Tre is still that good,' said Roy. 'When he comes home summertime he's just dominating, so me, him, Jamal, Nate Robinson and Terrence Williams need to spilt the teams just to make sure that there's an even competition. Tre is right there with all of us and we all played in the NBA for at least 3-4 years so I know his confidence is there but the time also has to be right and I think there is still a chance he can still play for an NBA team.'
After Roy's rookie season with the Blazers, the team was lacking good shooting. 'I was telling Kevin Pritchard our assistant general manager to bring in Tre. Just to get him to come to camp, give him a chance to prove himself because he's been overlooked and he said he remembered Tre being a real good shooter but sometimes it's really a matter of the right situation,' said Roy.
Crawford agreed, 'I have a lot of respect for Tre. I think he's generally regarded as the best player from Seattle to have not played in the NBA but that's never stopped him from working hard or playing professionally, despite having NBA talent.'
Tonight, Simmons, the Eastern European VTB League's third leading scorer with 96.2% from the charity stripe, plays against Russian empire CSKA Moscow, who's currently flashing a European best 37-3 record. Last time the two teams collided, Simmons dropped 26 points in a losing effort, therefore, revenge may be on the agenda.
Coach Rimas Kurtinaitis (ex AV Cantu) signs at Lietuvos rytas - 15 days ago
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57-year old Lithuanian coach Rimas Kurtinaitis (agency: Alti Sport). He worked at AV Cantu in Italian Serie A. The last season Kurtinaitis coached at BC Khimky Moscow Region (VTB) in Russian league. Among other achievements he coached in the final of VTB United League in 2015. Kurtinaitis received also Eurobasket.com All-VTB League Coach of the Year award back in 2014. He was coaching Lithuanian Senior National Team between 2007 and 2008 and... [read more]
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (LKL) landed experienced 57-year old Lithuanian coach Rimas Kurtinaitis (agency: Alti Sport). He worked at AV Cantu in Italian Serie A. The last season Kurtinaitis coached at BC Khimky Moscow Region (VTB) in Russian league. Among other achievements he coached in the final of VTB United League in 2015. Kurtinaitis received also Eurobasket.com All-VTB League Coach of the Year award back in 2014. He was coaching Lithuanian Senior National Team between 2007 and 2008 and coached also U20 National Team in 2006. Kurtinaitis is a very experienced player. He has coached also professionally in Australia, Azerbaijan (Gala-Atena), France, Germany, Latvia, Poland and Spain.
O'Neale's 19 points and 7 rebounds give him Player of the Week award - 16 days ago
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23-year old Royce O'Neale (198-SF-93) had an amazing evening in the last round for second-ranked Gran Canaria and receives a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 6 (Top 16). He had the game-high 19 points adding seven rebounds and six assists for Gran Canaria in his team's victory, helping them to crush Fuenlabrada (#3, 2-4) with 24-point margin 100-76. In the team's last game O'Neale had a remarkable 71.4% from 2-point range. It was one of impressive evenings for him as usua... [read more]
23-year old Royce O'Neale (198-SF-93) had an amazing evening in the last round for second-ranked Gran Canaria and receives a Eurobasket.com Player of the Week award for round 6 (Top 16). He had the game-high 19 points adding seven rebounds and six assists for Gran Canaria in his team's victory, helping them to crush Fuenlabrada (#3, 2-4) with 24-point margin 100-76. In the team's last game O'Neale had a remarkable 71.4% from 2-point range. It was one of impressive evenings for him as usually he does not deliver so high stats. Royce O'Neale averages this season 10.6ppg and 5.4rpg.
Second best performed player last round was David Logan (185-G-82) of Lietuvos rytas. He is American-Polish guard in his first season at Lietuvos rytas. In the last game Logan recorded impressive 28 points, 3 rebounds and 7 assists. It was enough for Lietuvos rytas to edge slightly higher-ranked Zenit (3-3) by 2 points 86-84. Logan is a newcomer at Lietuvos rytas and quickly became one of team's most reliable players. He belongs to the best scorers in the league with 18.1ppg (#4). He also recorded 5.8 assists per game.
Third place about best performers goes to guard Alexey Shved (198-G-88, agency: Alti Sport) of league's second-best Khimky. Shved got into 30-points club by scoring 31 points in the last round. Despite Shved's great performance Khimky lost 74-96 to #1 ranked B.Muenchen. Shved has a great season in EuroCup. After 11 games, he made it on the list of the league's leaders in points with 22.5ppg (best scorer). He also has FGP: 58.4% and 3PT: 41.2%.
Other top performing players last week: 4. Maximilian Kleber (207-PF-92) of B.Muenchen - 21 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists 5. Amare Stoudemire (208-F/C-82) of Hapoel J-M - 19 points and 9 rebounds 6. Sam Van Rossom (188-PG-86) of Valencia - 17 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists 7. Dejan Musli (213-C-91) of Unicaja - 18 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists 8. Lior Eliyahu (205-F-85) of Hapoel J-M - 20 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists 9. Sergey Karasev (201-SG-93) of Zenit - 24 points and 6 rebounds 10. DeAndre Kane (193-G-89) of N.Novgorod - 18 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists
The Player of the week is chosen based on efficiency calculation, but also including game result, importance of the game, if played recorded double-double/triple-double, etc. The efficiency formula is a combination of various formulas used by different basketball organizations/leagues. We got involved many basketball scouts and journalists to assure it's accuracy. The formula: 1.5*PTS + 3* (REB+AST+ST+BL-TO) - 2*BSAG - 4*PF + 3*PFRV + 4* (2FGPM+3FGPM) + 1.5*FTM - 3* (2FGPA-2FGPM) - 3* (3FGPA-3FGPM) - (FTA-FTM)
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (LKL) strengthened their roster with addition of 31-year old American guard Jimmy Baron (191-89kg-86, college: Rhode Island). He started the season at Neptunas (LKL). In 22 games he recorded 13.6ppg, 2.9rpg and 2.2apg this season. Baron also played 14 games in Basketball Champions League where he averaged 14.9ppg, 3.4rpg and 1.6apg. The last season he played at Spirou Charleroi (Scooore League) in Belgium. In 29 games he had very impressive stats: 15.5ppg, 2.9rpg an... [read more]
Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius (LKL) strengthened their roster with addition of 31-year old American guard Jimmy Baron (191-89kg-86, college: Rhode Island). He started the season at Neptunas (LKL). In 22 games he recorded 13.6ppg, 2.9rpg and 2.2apg this season. Baron also played 14 games in Basketball Champions League where he averaged 14.9ppg, 3.4rpg and 1.6apg. The last season he played at Spirou Charleroi (Scooore League) in Belgium. In 29 games he had very impressive stats: 15.5ppg, 2.9rpg and 1.6apg. Baron helped them to end the regular season as a second best team in the league. Baron also played 9 games in Eurocup where he got 14.7ppg, 2.4rpg and 1.7apg. Baron has tried to make it to the NBA and played in the NBA Pro Summer League in 2015. Among other achievements he received Eurobasket.com All-Spanish ACB Honorable Mention award back in 2012. Baron is a very experienced player. He has played also professionally in Italy (Roma Virtus), Russia (Lokomotiv), Turkey (Banvit and Mersin Buyuksehir Belediyesi) and Spain (Baloncesto Fuenlabrada and Gipuzkoa). Baron attended Rhode Island University until 2009 and it is his eighth season in pro basketball.
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