Rayshawn Simmons (192-PG-1993, college: CMU) is a 28 year old 192cm guard from St Louis, Missouri, that completed his fifth professional season and second in Germany with Science City Jena (Germany-ProA) playing 40 games averaging 10.6ppg, 3.5rpg, Assists-2 (7.7apg), FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 70.0%. In 2019-2020 he played with the Kangoeroes Basket Mechelen (Belgium-Euromillions League) averaging 9.2ppg, 4.0rpg, Assists-3 (5.5apg), 1.0spg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 83.9%. In his first year in germany he played with Team Ehingen averaging 11,5ppg, 3,4rpg and 9,4apg. He also played with the Logan Thunder (Australia-QBL) playing 18 games averaging 12.6ppg, 4.1rpg, Assists-1 (8.4apg), FGP: 51.2%, 3PT: 36.4%, FT: 76.2%. As a rookie he played with Orli Prostejov (Czech Republic-NBL) playing 15 games averaging 11.9ppg, 4.5rpg, Assists-4 (5.3apg), 1.1spg, FGP: 41.7%, 3PT: 26.1%, FT: 71.2%. He began his basketball career with Moberly Area CC and then finished at Central Michigan (NCAA) playing 95 NCAA games over the course of three seasons and as a senior played 33 game averaging 12.1ppg, 4.3rpg, 5.0apg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 28.3%, FT: 64.1%. He spoke to germanhoops.com after the 21-22 season.
Thanks Rayshawn for talking to germanhoops.com. It has almost been three years since our last interview. Has time flown despite Covid?
Personally I feel like time has moved slow and two years has felt like five especially with so many changes in the world.
Congrats on a successful team season with Jena. Was the disappointment big losing in the semi-finals. The goal was too move up to the easyCredit BBL.
Yes, it was a disappointment for me. I didn’t expect anything less than a championship. But you need a little luck and luck wasn’t with us in the Semi Finals.
The team had a great start winning 11 of 12 games, but let up a bit at the end losing 6 of 11 games. The team was the fourth best defensive team during the season. Why did the team begin to give up more points?
I think we began to give up more points because teams started to get better and figured out some of our some of our defensive rotations.
How did you experience the very exciting 5 game playoff series against Paderborn. What will you always remember from that series?
I will always remember playing against my good friend Jordan Barnes who’s also from Saint Louis, Missouri (USA).
In the semi’s you met a very tough Rostock series. How key was their guard rotation? Was that depth the difference between the title and not?
I think Rostock was a balanced team, very similar to us but ultimately played at a higher level than we did.
Jena lost game 4 77-76. Where does that game rate in your toughest loses as a professional?
The last loss is always the toughest for me.
Is that game winner by Tyler Nelson that will be forever remembered in Rostock, one of those shots that you won’t forget either?
Yes, that’s a game I’ll never forget.
Let’s talk a little about your teammates. How cool was it being teammates with veteran Brandon Thomas? Was he like a mentor for you and what won’t you ever forget about him?
Being Brandon Thomas’ teammate is definitely one of my favorite and most memorable moments playing basketball. My respect level and appreciation for him is at an all-time high. I’ll never forget the way he carried himself and showed up everyday giving it everything he had in him everyday.
Alex Herrera has shown in the Pro A that he is a top forward. What did you appreciate most about his game?
Alex is one of those guys I’ve always wanted to play with and a workhouse. He’s mentally one of the toughest guys I know.
How key was the pick up of Davonte Lacy another player that has proven to be a top player in the Pro A. What did you appreciate most about his game and how did he help the team most?
Davonte was a great pick up for us. It allowed us to be a bit more dynamic. We could just throw him the ball and he could go score. He really pushed me to be more aggressive to score and especially shoot 3s.
Jena had some solid role players as veterans but also young guys getting some minutes. Which player do you feel developed the best this season?
I’d say Vuk developed the most over the season. He got better everyday and was a willing learner.
You sat out the 20-21 season. When you look back at this do you feel like this could have effected the further development of your game?
I think it affected the further development of my game in a positive way. It gave me time to sit back and reevaluate a lot of things. I ultimately came back a better player.
Two seasons ago you had a solid season in the competitive Euromillions league in Belgium with Kangoeroes Basket Mechelen averaging 9.2ppg, 4.0rpg, Assists-3 (5.5apg), 1.0spg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 83.9%. How would you compare the German pro A with the Euromillions league in terms of skill and competitive level?
The Belgian league is more physical and more skilled. There’s like 4-5 teams in that league that play internationally as well. I think the top 2 teams or so could compete middle to bottom of the league. Overall though, not the same level.
With Jena you played 40 games averaging 10.6ppg, 3.5rpg, 7.7apg, FGP: 56.4%, 3PT: 38.9%, FT: 70.0%. How content were you with your season? What kind of a grade would you give it?
I’d give myself a B.
What kind of a player is Rayshawn Simmons now in 2022 than you were in 2019 with Ehingen?
I am a more complete and confident player in 2022 vs 2019.
On what areas of your game will you work on most this summer so you can continue to climb the basketball ladder?
I will work on shooting and finishing as those are two areas that can really separate a player.
You had so many great games with Jena. What was your personal most memorable game? Possibly the 113-109 win over PS Karlsruhe?
That’s tough. Honestly there were a few. I’d like to say the game winner over Paderborn in the 1st Round of Playoffs has to be up there though.
You played against so many tough players this season, but who was the toughest?
I have to go with Jordan Barnes. Hometown guy. He put on a show this year.
What is your take on all the bashing guys like James Harden and Kevin Durant are getting?
I think it comes with the territory. People want to win and nothing else matters.
Is Luca Doncic a top 5 player finally or even a top 3 player now?
I wouldn’t go that far. He’s good though.
What is something special you plan to do this summer that you haven’t done in a while?
I plan to spend time with my son who’s 8months old. I haven’t gotten to see him much other than the time he visited me during the season with my grandmother.
Thanks Rayshawn for the chat.