K.K Simmons is a 23 year old 190cm combo guard from Marietta, Georgia that is playing his first professional season with German Pro B team Licher Basket Baeren. He played at three schools with NC-Wilmington (NCAA), Kent St. (NCAA) and Pikeville (NAIA). Last season he finished his college basketball career with Pikeville (NAIA) playing 31 games and averaging 16.4ppg, 1.9rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 46.1%, 3PT: 39.2%, FT: 78.5%. Simmons is an amazing shooter and shot 48% from outside in his junior season at Pikeville, but can also mix it up getting to the hole. In his first season with Pikeville, he played 25 games averaging 20.8ppg, 2.2rpg, 2.0apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 45.3%, 3PT: 48.9%, FT: 78.4%. He spoke to German Hoops during the 2017 playdowns and before the game against the Giants Nordlingen.
K.K thanks for talking to German Hoops. It´s playdown time again, a time that your teammate Lamar Mallory is used to. Last season he was a major force and reason why Lich stayed in the league. Do you sense as if the club will experience a special revved up Lamar Mallory in the rest of the games?
Lamar is the heart and soul of this team. His experience from being in the same situation last season is very beneficial to us as a team. He will continue to lead us in the right direction.
With what type of expectations are you going into the playdowns? Do you feel like this is a time that you will have to step up in an extra special way?
My expectations are to win as many games as we can in order to stay in the league. As a team, it’s time for all of us to step up and get the job done. If we play basketball the way we know we can and should, then everything will work out for the best.
How vital was it for the Licher Basket Baeren to close out the season with a two game winning streak? Is the self confidence with the team at an all-time high?
Us winning the last two games of the regular season was very important for us going into the Play-Downs. They were very big momentum boosters and helped us gain more confidence going into these couple of games.
Congrats on the big 79-69 win on the road in Rhondorf. What lesson did the team learn from the bitter 77-70 loss in Rhondorf a month ago?
During the last game at Rhondorf, we had a couple of setbacks as a team. I was sick with the flu, along with Lamar being out for two weeks prior to that game. Since we are the leaders of the team, us not being able to play to our best hurt the team in a big way. In this last game, everyone was healthy and ready for revenge.
The game was very even at half-time as no team could really get away. Did you sense that Rhondorf was playing with a chip on their shoulder with the absence of Aaron Nelson.
Rhondorf is a very good organization and had a lot of talent on the team. They play hard every single possession and are very well coached. They didn’t let the absence of Nelson deter them in any way.
It didn´t seem like Lich had any real advantage despite Aaron Nelson not being around in the paint. What adjustments did Rhondorf make without his services?
The biggest adjustment that I noticed Rhondorf made coming into this game was that they added a bunch of new players from the first league team onto their roster. It was a great battle to be a part of.
Do you feel as if the Dragons Rhondorf are one of the key favorites to move down on account of the absence of Aaron Nelson? It seems like they are lacking consistent depth.
Absolutely not. Rhondorf plays extremely hard, along with the couple of very talented players they have. It’s too early to say what will happen to them now, but I think they’ll be okay.
Rhondorf had the 59-54 lead going into the fourth quarter, but Lich closed out the game scoring 25 points and buckling down on defense allowing only 10 points. What was key for getting the win?
The key for getting this win was on the DEFENSIVE end. Once we dedicate ourselves as much on the defensive end as we do on the offensive end, we’ll be a hard team to beat.
Talk about how key the overall production of the team was in the fourth quarter. You got production from many players which rattled Rhondorf mid way through the fourth in that huge 9-0 run.
Whoever checked into the game in the fourth quarter stepped up for us big time. We have a very talented team and everyone brings something different to the table. Down the stretch, we are all capable of making plays.
The next game is at home against the Giants Nordlingen who you swept this season, but both games were close. They are a lot better than what their record indicates. What really makes this team an annoying opponent?
Nordlingen gave us two very tough games that we wound up pulling away from in the end. Despite their record, they’re capable of beating anybody. That goes to show you how strong our league was this year.
Both games were high scoring games. Do you feel like the score could be lower this time simply because both teams are fighting to stay in the league and will give all that they have?
Both teams have players who can really score the ball. I can’t say what the score will be, but I can say that it’ll be a good game to be a part of.
How vital has the pick up of German Daniel Krause been? What besides his three point accuracy has been vital for the success of the team?
Daniel has been a great pickup for us from day 1 until now. Not only is he a deadly three point shooter, but he plays hard on every possession on both ends of the floor for us.
How confident are you that you can go home for summer vacation having helped Lich stay in the league. What will be key for keeping the team in the Pro B? Lich has a positive 4-2 record against all playdown teams.
I’m extremely confident that I can help Lich stay in the league. The key thing for us is sharing the ball on offense and playing team defense and everything will work out for the best.
You have had a very consistent scoring season going into the playdowns. Do you feel like you have played up to the teams and own expectations?
Yes, I feel like I have had a great rookie season. Throughout my entire basketball career, I’ve lived up to team and personal expectations. I believe that this year has been no different.
Your 5/22 from outside in your last four games. Do you sense as if you are due for a break out game? You lit up Nordlingen for 36 and 27 points this season.
I’m not really concerned or worried about having another breakout game. Yes, I played really well against Nordlingen the first two times but I’m just concerned with getting a great team win. WE NOT ME.
Have you filled out your bracket? Who do you see in the NCAA Final 4 and who will win it all?
Honestly, my bracket is really messed up, but I have the Arizona Wildcats winning the NCAA championship. My cousin Kobi Simmons is a fab freshman on that team, and I want my family to win it all.
How have you seen the development of Boston Celtic Isaiah Thomas? Where do you rank him at the moment in the top point guards in the NBA?
Isaiah Thomas has been getting better every time he steps on the floor. This year, I put him in the top 5 point guards in the NBA.
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I watched was Men In Black. It’s a classic and one of my favorites. Will Smith is the man.
Thanks KK for the chat.