Top 2020 Guard Khalyl Simmons Talks Inspire Prep, Progression

High School
Florida

Posted On: 06/20/18 12:58 PM

ZS: After averaging a program-best 21 PPG as a sophomore, and recently averaging 27 PPG during a four-game span, it seems like your cooking with gas. Being a Class of 2020 recruit, who may not have the same high ranking and “star” rating as some of the widely known national guys, what are you looking to prove as a junior this coming year?

KS: I really want to showcase my leadership ability and my ability to make plays for others. I think that’s one of the best qualities of my game. I can score the ball at all three levels and really my biggest strength as a 6-foot-1 guard is my scoring. Yet there are areas I’m working at like my vertical, my explosiveness. I’m on the vertimax and working in the weight room everyday. It’s a process and it’s a challenge. I’m ready for it.

ZS: In which ways have you worked to transition your game to becoming more of an attacker and hard finisher?

KS: Really getting bigger and getting stronger has helped me. I’ve been able to go at the bigger guys and take those bumps and bruises at the rim. When you drive more, you get to learn how to really score and finish around the bigger guys. The key is just having the confidence, reading the defense, and being able to understand how to finish around bigger guys and get the best look inside.

ZS: Few kids in the SIAA conference have the responsibility of leading the team as a sophomore. How did you adjust on the fly, knowing you were the younger guy commandeering an offense full of older guys?

KS: Really, it was all about communication. I’ve never really played age appropriate. I’ve always been the younger guys who can lead through communication, lead through positive energy, and get everyone on the same page out there. That was instrumental in becoming a leader.

I tried to do what I do best which is score. I’ve been a scorer my whole life really. So just trying to lead through constant communication and help impose my will, it really showed me how to be a leader regardless of my age or experience.

ZS: Which games would you pinpoint as the most memorable of the 2017-18 season for you? What would you describe as your best personal performance?

KS: I had 39 points against The Nation Prep (FL). I think I hit about eight 3-pointers. Man, the basket looked really big in that one (laughs). I think I showcased my mid-range, my ability to get to the basket and put up points and also create for my teammates.

The Rockledge tournament, that was another major part of the season for us. We played against a very talented guard in (USC-signee) Elijah Weaver. All our guys stuck together and played as hard as possible in that one. Because of the environment, we were really hyped. It was a great experience.

ZS: After going through some growing pains during the program’s first-ever year, in one of the country’s most unforgiving conferences (SIAA), how do you anticipate the team’s improvement in 2019? Where is the bar set for Inspire Prep?

KS: Definitely, I think our sights our set on a championship. We don’t want to settle for second place. That’s just not us. No moral victories. We will be getting a lot better. Again, we’re going to play one of the toughest schedules in the country. We will play anyone. I can’t wait, to be perfectly honest with you.

We have a great point guard in Jalil Melvin. He runs the show for us and is a really good decision maker. We’re going to miss Raymond (Dieng) because he was a monster. Our big 6-foot-11 guy, Emmanuel (Ndatuje), he’s got a great shot and can bring a lot. We’re going to have a lot of pieces. We’re going to make some noise.