While Jerod Simmons-Young has proven to be a strong long-range shooter, he will have a short distance to travel for next basketball season.
On Tuesday the Centralia High School senior signed a letter of intent to play at Kaskaskia College.
A 6-foot-1, 165-pounder, Simmons-Young averaged right at 15 points per game for the Orphans who were 25-5 last year.
“I wanted to stay close to home,” Simmons-Young said of his decision on where to play. “I think it’ll be a real good environment and I’ll have fan support.”
“We had quite a few chances to watch Jerod play and felt he made a lot of progress from last year,” said Kaskaskia coach Brian Hancock. “He’s grown as a player and we think he’ll continue to do that over the next two years.
“He’s going to get stronger and can be a really good player for us.”
“Jerod is someone who has his best basketball in front of him,” said Centralia coach Lee Bennett. “As he keeps maturing and gaining strength, he’ll going to keep improving.”
An all-tournament selection at Centralia and Salem, as well as an all-South Seven Conference team member and special mention Illinois Basketball Coaches Association choice, Simmons-Young was also one of the Honorable Mention 100 named by the Champaign-Urbana News Gazette.
“Obviously, Jerod can make shots and that’s what they’re [the Blue Devils] looking at,” said Bennett. “He’s going to have to improve his overall game when the players [in college] are quicker and stronger, and I think he will.
“He has challenges in front of him in taking care of the basketball and he’ll be guarded a lot harder. But by making those adjustments. He’s going to be that much better.”
“I know all my offensive skills need to improve,” said Simmons-Young. “My ballhandlng, my shooting. It’s a big jump from high school but I’m going to do all I can to do that so I’ll be ready to play at that level.”
The opportunity to play right away is also there with Kaskaskia losing four sophomores who drew much of the playing time in the backcourt last season.
“We think he’ll be able to help us at both positions,” said Hancock. “Initially, more at the two [shooting] guard and he could also get some minutes at the point. Jerod’s a great addition to our program.”
Simmons-Young plans to major in athletic training.
Pictured (seated) are mother Bette Simmons-Young, Jerod Simmons-Young and brother D’Aaron Owens. Standing is KC Coach Brian Hancock and Centralia Coach Lee Bennett.