Ben Simons is a 22 year old 203cm forward from Cadiliac, Michigan that recently signed as a rookie with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen for the 2013-2014 season. He played at Drake from 2009-2010 playing a total of 123 NCAA games. As a senior he played 32 games: 14.1ppg, 3.6rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 48.1%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 88.0%. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Thanks Ben for talking to German Hoops. You didn´t waste any time as a rookie finding your first professional basketball team Walter Tigers Tuebingen in Germany. Were you 100% sure that this team was right for you? What were the main reasons for coming to the Tigers?
I was pretty sure it was a great situation for me to come into for my rookie year. I have known Josh Young for a while and he has told me great things about the city and also the team and coaching staff. I think Tuebingen will be a great spot for me to start my career.
You didn´t have any idea of testing the market more searching for more offers?
I didn’t know if it would have mattered to me to wait. I think this is a great situation for me. It is nice to know where I am going to be playing next season and I can just concentrate on getting better this summer and improve on my game.
How excited are you about being a rookie in the best league in Germany Beko BBL? What do you know about the country Germany and the team Walter Tigers Tuebingen?
I am very excited to join the team and be in an outstanding league. I have been to Germany once a few summers ago on an amateur tour and enjoyed my time very much. I never was anywhere near Tuebingen but I have heard it is a great city. I also do not know much about the team yet, I know they are a team on the rise in the league and hopefully with hard work we can continue to build on what they have been doing.
How much of a factor was your ex teammate Josh Young in you coming to Tuebingen?
It was a big factor. Having Josh here for when I begin my career my rookie year will be very nice. He has been on the team for two years now and will be able to help me assimilate into the culture and the team easier than I would have been able to on my own. I am excited to be able to play with Josh again.
You played at Drake from 2009-2013. When looking at your stats, the two most significant stats that pop up is your good three point shooting. Do you often get the label for being one dimensional?
I think if you look at the stats that is something that a person might think. I hope that if you would watch a game though someone would be able to see other things I do on the court. I try and improve my all around game every year and continue to become better at everything on the court. Obviously shooting is one of my strengths but I try and do as many things as I can on the court.
What is a strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away?
I think something I do well is just understand the game. I have been around the game my whole life. My father was a coach for 30 years and everyone in my family has played or coach. I have seen a lot of basketball and watch a lot so I try and take things I see or people have told me and put it into what I do on the court.
You grabbed under four rebounds your last two seasons in the NCAA which is little for a 203cm man. Is rebounding something on your to do list to improve?
It definitely is something that I want to improve on. I think that when I keep getting stronger and more mature as a player it will be something I can improve on.
You played four years at Drake for head coach Mark Phelps. What was the most important thing that you learned from him that will have you ready for the start of your professional basketball career?
The thing he was big on is you get what you put in. So he was always saying that if you put in the work and work hard it will show on the court. I will try and put in as much work in the off season and extra work during the season to be the best player I can be.
What was your most fondest memory on and off the court with Josh Young with whom you played one season with?
My best memory with Josh was when we played Southern Illinois in the Missouri Valley Tournament my Freshmen year, his senior year, and he made the game winning shot with about a second left on the clock. It was a cool moment and a great shot by Josh.
How much of an honor was it being named Associated Press Michigan Class B Player of the Year in 2009? Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo visited one of your practices at Cadilac high school.
It was a great honor to be named Class B Player of the year. We had a good year and it was a great Senior year of High school. Yes, Coach Izzo came up to Cadillac to watch me work out my Junior year once. He didn’t really give me any advice but it was a great honor for him to make the trip up and come watch me work out.
Many remember NBA player Anthony Tolliver and current Beko BBL player Dane Watts playing at Creighton(NCAA), but I think you wont forget Creighton for another reason. Is not making a three pointer in a game like the equivalent for a Kevin Love not getting a double double?
Creighton was our big rival at Drake. So anytime you don’t play well against them it hurts a little more than against someone else. They had a great team when I was in school and not playing well in a game against them was not something I ever liked to do.
Who is your shooting idol and too what NBA player could you describe your shooting style to?
I didn’t really have a idol I guess but someone I looked at to try and be like in high school was Richard Hamilton when he played for the Detroit Pistons. He was always moving without the ball and I wanted to play like he did. I probably shoot more threes than he did but just his movement off the ball and coming off screens was something that I wanted to be able to do.
How does a normal work out day look like for Ben Simmons?
Right now I go in and lift for about an hour or so. After that I will start with ballhandling drills, then I will work on different finishes around the basket, next I will work on shooting off the dribble and doing different moves into shots, then normally finish my workouts with a lot of spot shooting.
Who was the toughest player that you played against in the NCAA that might be in the NBA now?
I think the best player we played was Doug McDermott from Creighton. He could have entered the NBA this year but decided ultimately to return to school. He is a very good player and I’m sure will have a good year this year too.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
I actually just saw the Hangover Part 3 last night. I didn’t think it was as good as the first one but still had some very funny parts.
Thanks Ben for the chat