As the No. 7 player in the 2018 recruiting class, Anfernee Simons would have been a huge get for any school this late in the process.
However, he announced on Thursday that he would forego college and declare for the NBA Draft.
Guard Anfernee Simons of IMG Academy is entering the NBA Draft, his agents Drew Rosenhaus and Bobby Petriella tell ESPN. Simons is No. 19 in ESPN's most recent mock draft.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 22, 2018
Simons, who was once committed to play for Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals, is in his post-graduate year at the IMG Academy in Florida. Technically, he graduated from high school last May. So his situation is similar to that of Hamidou Diallo last year.
Simons is currently listed as a top-20 pick in this year’s NBA Draft, and could not pass up the opportunity to make the jump to the league.
“After discussing the matter with my parents, I have decided to forgo the opportunity to play in the NCAA and to instead enter the NBA draft,” Simons told ESPN. “I am very thankful for the support I received at IMG Academy and from the NCAA coaches who recruited me. I am ready and excited to pursue my dream of playing in the NBA.”
Simons was never offered a scholarship by Kentucky, but had he been seriously considering college you would think that John Calipari would have been interested. Listed as the No. 1 combo guard in the class by 247Sports, Simons would have added depth and scoring to next year’s back court assuming Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Hamidou Diallo declare for the draft as well.
There was speculation that Calipari would get involved with Simons’ recruitment once Zion Williamson chose Duke, but it may have been obvious even then that Simons was headed for the NBA.
Tennessee and Memphis emerged as the most serious suitors prior to Simons’ NBA declaration.