Troy Simons is a 190cm guard that was born in Pittsburgh and is playing his professional rookie season with the Tigers Tuebingen (Germany-ProA) after having begun with PGE Spojnia Stargard (Poland-EBL). Currently with the Tigers he is averaging 11,7ppg, 2,0rpg, 1,3apg and 1,3spg. He began his basketball career with Renaissance Academy and then played at Polk State College (JUCO) from 2015-2017 averaging 17.1ppg, 4.4rpg, 2.6apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 46.3%, 3PT: 40.4%, FT: 79.1% and in his second season averaged 26.3ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.4apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 76.1%. In 20017-2018 he played with the University of New Mexico (NCAA) averaging 9.2ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.4apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 43.0%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 81.8%. He made one more change of scenery playing with Kent State University (NCAA) as a senior playing 31 games averaging 13.1ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 82.6%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Troy thanks for taking some time to talk to germanhoops.com. How did you experience the last 6 months and COVID-19. What was the biggest challenge that you had to take on?
The biggest challenge I had to take on was being on lockdown in my state. We weren’t allowed to do anything we couldn’t even go get food, couldn’t get in any facilities to workout.
You played your last NCAA game on March 9th against EMU. How tough was it ending your NCAA career so abruptly and what do you miss not having been able to do?
It was real tough because me and my teammates at Kent State had big plans. In our mind nobody could beat us and we were going to win the conference tournament so we could get a bid in the NCAA tournament. I miss not being able to compete with my team one last time.
How challenging was it finding a gym to stay in shape and being able to work on your basketball skills? Did you find some unique ways to work out and do certain exercises?
It was real tough because every gym in Pittsburgh was closed and they even took the outside hoops off the backboard so all any of us could do was work on our ball handling.
How do you feel did COVID-19 make you stronger as a man?
Yeah I believe it made me even more independent.
Congrats on signing with the Tigers Tuebingen of the German Pro A. You first signed in Poland but your passport wasn’t ready. Do you feel blessed now playing in Germany?
Yes I do. I believe everything happens for a reason. I didn’t have my passport in time for Poland because God had other plans for me here in Germany.
What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball? Have you had friends or ex opponents play in Germany in the past?
All I know about was that Germany manufactured a lot of cars lol but on the basketball side I didn’t really know a lot only that it was a great place to start at as a rookie.
The Tigers Tuebingen are really high on your abilities. What convinced you that this club would be the right one for your rookie season?
Coach Danny had called me and talked to me for a while and told me what he was trying to do here to get back to the top league and I believed I could help him and the club do that.
What kind of an impression did you get during your first talks with head coach Danny Jansson? Does the fact that he is known for developing young players excite you?
My first talk with coach I could tell that he was about his business but also had a sense of humor. Yes it did excite me. I had a coach at Kent state named Randal Holt my redshirt season that actually played for coach Danny and he told me that coach would develop me into a better player than I ever thought.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 191cm shooting guard and your favorite player is Derrick Rose. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would it be?
I would say like Klay Thompson/ Daniel House.
Your 2 biggest strength is your shooting and defense, What other qualities do you have that help make you standout on the court?
I would say my passion and emotions while I’m on the court.
You shot 39% from outside in your senior year at Kent State. How confident are you that you can become a 40% plus shooter at the pro level?
I’m real confident. The way I know I can shoot the ball and the way I shot in the past proves it.
What do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t always get noticed right away?
Me being able to attack of the dribble because every team I played for needed me for 3s and defense.
Was ball handling a big aspect of your game that you worked on this summer to be best prepared for the German Pro A?
Yes, you can never go wrong getting your ball handling skills better.
You played 2 years at Polk State College (JUCO). How challenging was it playing in this league? Guys often say that playing JUCO is tough, but it helped them a lot in their development. How was it for you?
It wasn’t really tough but it was definitely a lot more physical then what I had played before that. It definitely helped me become more physical for when I got to D1. It prepared my body for now.
In your second season at Polk State College you averaged a crazy 26.3ppg, 5.5rpg, 2.4apg, 1.9spg, FGP: 46.0%, 3PT: 40.9%, FT: 76.1%. You led the league in scoring despite playing 4 less minutes than the season before and averaged 9 points more. Talk about how this season made you more mature as a player
My sophomore year turned me into a leader first. My first time really having to lead and put the team on my back because of how young we was as a team. I had to lead by example.
You then transferred to the University of New Mexico (NCAA) averaging 9.9ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.4apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 43.0%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 81.8%. What was your wake up call to being in the NCAA where the JUCO was far away?
It was maybe a little bit faster than Juco and had to play more in a system there.
How crazy was it starting your NCAA career winning by a ridiculous margin of 71 points over Northern NM where there were 8 guys that scored in double figures? Is that a game that you will always remember?
Beating a team by that was a surprise to me lol and yeah I will always remember my first NCAA game.
You stayed only 1 season in New Mexico. Despite the short stay what positives did you get out of it?
The friendships that I made on that team. They were my boys even though we went through ups and downs that year we always stuck together as 1.
You then finished at Kent State University (NCAA) playing 31 games and averaging 13.1ppg, 3.5rpg, 2.0apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 51.7%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 82.6%. Your consistency as a scorer was spot on there. How do you feel did you grow as a player in your senior year?
Yeah I believe I did. When your percentage go up from the year before I believed you automatically grew as a player.
You had many exciting games at Kent State, but where does the exciting 72-71 win over Wright State rank where you had 16 points and 11 rebounds?
Yeah that game was wild, we were projected to lose that game against them but it’s definitely in my top 10 games I have played in.
How did head coach Rob Senderhoff groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
I’m going to say the way he coached and his individual workouts with you 1on1 was very intense.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Anthony Roberts?
I’m going to say we are even in wins because we played 1on1 a lot in practice.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA or anywhere that went to the NBA?
DJ Kennedy or Dre Kane!
Please list your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Antino Jackson (UNM), Booman Williams (KSU), Dj Porter (Polk State), Delvon Randall (AAU), Sam Longwood (UNM). It’s not in order
Please construct your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of past or present players?
D-Rose, A.I., Kobe, Lebron, Shaq.
What is your personal opinion between the never ending debate between Michael Jordan and Lebron James concerning who is the greatest of all-time?
I believe if we were able to switch them too I think Lebron would have more championships than Jordan by far but Jordan was a great player but Bron is the goat in my eyes.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Teenage mutant ninja turtle.
Thanks Troy for the chat.