UE on Monday announced a three-player 2013 signing class. Current high school seniors were able to sign and submit binding letters of intent starting last Wednesday, and future Aces Jaylon Brown, Blake Simmons and Duane Gibson each did that.
With the announcement, coach Marty Simmons can for the first time comment about his recruits.
Simmons on Jaylon Brown, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Fishers (Ind.) High School: “We’ve been recruiting him for a long time and just stayed with it and stayed with it. We were able to get he and his dad down here unofficially, and then his mother came down unofficially. We were able to get up there too. He’s just a terrific young man – great family. I think he just really liked it here and fit in. I’ve told you before, I think our players are the best recruiting tool. I think he really liked our guys and felt the family-type atmosphere. He’s a special young man. He’s fast. He’s quick. He’s athletic. He has the ability to get to the rim. As good as he is now, he’s going to continue getting better and better.”
Simmons on his son, Blake Simmons, a 6-foot-5 swing man out of Castle High School (who will be on athletic scholarship at UE): “It’s pretty exciting, to be quite honest. He’s worked really hard for a long, long time to have this opportunity. He’s a very good player. He puts a lot into it, and I think his skills, talents and abilities fit the way we want to play and the things we do. I’m just really looking forward to being able to coach him.”
Simmons on Duane Gibson, a 6-foot-3 guard from Villa Angela-St. Josheph High School in Cleveland: “(His recruitment) was more recent. Just through a mutual contact, somebody had let us know there’s a really good guard in the Ohio area, and we got on it right away. It’s a really heralded program that’s had a lot of really good players come out of there. We went up and watched right away and fell in love with him out of the gate. It was a situation where his high school coach went way out of his way – actually the coaching staff are brothers – to bring him down to a game. I think it was the Southern Indiana game. They really liked the atmosphere and everything, and they were on campus – they liked the small campus. I just think the young man was ready to make a decision, and we certainly liked what we saw in him.”
UE has one scholarship to fill either in this spring’s regular signing period or with the 2014 class. Simmons said his staff is still recruiting and won’t wait until next year to fill that scholarship if they find the right player.
So what kind of prospect?
“That’s always up for debate,” Simmons said. “I think right now we’d look more for what we call a combo guard — somebody who can play both the point and two — probably more the two. Just someone with good ball handling experience. But at the end of the day, if you’ve got one (scholarship) and a very good player is available, then we’ve got to take the best available player.”