breaking news

Report accuses drug company of raising prices on drug used to revive overdose victims

Alter grad Simmons grateful for backup role at NCAA runner-up Michigan


Nothing against Ohio University, but Jaaron Simmons needed to make another move.

“I really didn’t want to leave OU,” reflected the Alter High School grad and senior graduate transfer for the University of Michigan men’s basketball team this past season. “It was a personal decision to challenge myself and learn more about the game in a different view. I learned a lot of new terminology and a different way the game is played.”

Simmons, a 6-foot-1, record-setting guard at OU, hit the Powerball jackpot at the Ann Arbor campus. Relegated to unfamiliar backup status, he had a career-defining ride as Michigan advanced to a national championship. Villanova won its second title in three seasons on Monday, taking the Wolverines out 79-62 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

»RELATED: OU OK with Simmons pursuing NBA draft

Simmons left Athens by taking advantage of the relatively recent NCAA rule that allows graduates who have eligibility remaining to transfer and immediately be eligible to participate in a sport. Initiated in 2011, that’s become an increasingly popular move, although NCAA data reveals less than one-half of one percent of all Division I student-athletes do so.

He earned his undergraduate degree at OU last year in Specialized Studies. He’s pursuing a master’s degree in Social Work at Michigan.

»RELATED: Simmons’ goal to “keep Dayton on the rise”

Simmons’ switch from OU to Michigan was similar to the move made by Thurgood Marshall grad Mark Alstork. He left after two outstanding seasons at Wright State to play at Illinois this past season also as a graduate transfer.

Simmons’ appearance with Michigan in the national title game matched that of Fairmont grad Kathryn Westbeld. She capped her career at Notre Dame with a defeat of Mississippi State to win the women’s national basketball championship at Columbus on Sunday.

»RELATED: Trotwood-Madison grad transferring from Akron

Mostly a point guard, Simmons initially played for a season at Houston, then transferred to OU. He had two record-setting seasons with the Bobcats and was first team All-Mid-American Conference as a sophomore and junior after sitting out the required transfer year.

He set an Ohio and MAC single-season record with 275 assists in the 2015-16 season. Had he stayed at OU and continued to deliver like that, he would have set all-time career assist marks.

»RELATED: Fairmont alum wins national title with Notre Dame

Those were the kinds of numbers envisioned for him when he left Alter. As a senior in former coach Joe Petrocelli’s final season, Simmons led the streaking Knights to the Division II state final four in 2013. When he was done he owned most significant Alter single-season and career scoring records, no small feat at the renowned football and basketball program that’s anchored on East David Road in Kettering.

But that high-scoring and assist-minded effectiveness evolved into a new role with the Wolverines.

“It was definitely an adjustment, because that’s not really what I was expecting going in,” he admitted. “Whatever coach (John Beilein) wanted for the team, I was willing to do it. It worked out. You can’t really have a sour attitude about it or about anything, especially when you’re winning games.”

»TWITTER: You should like @MarcPendleton

He averaged about eight minutes of playing time and was part of a three-guard rotation for Michigan (33-8).

It was that notoriety at OU – and a grateful backup role at Michigan – that Simmons is counting on to help him reach the next level. He said he’ll soon sign with an agent and hopes to sign with an NBA team as a free agent. If that doesn’t work out, there’s always overseas ball.

“I know what I can do,” he said. “People know what I can do.”

»FACEBOOK: For more high school sports you should like Marc Pendleton

JAARON SIMMONS



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Football playoffs: State semifinals a first for Fort Loramie
Football playoffs: State semifinals a first for Fort Loramie

Two area high school football playoff dynasties have been extended into this week’s state semifinals in Alter and Marion Local. Joining those established powers is a relative newcomer, Fort Loramie. All posted Week 13 regional final wins this past weekend. Alter defeated Wapakoneta 21-7 at Piqua and Marion Local had a rematch answer for Coldwater...
Rookie quarterback sends Bengals to fourth loss in five games
Rookie quarterback sends Bengals to fourth loss in five games

Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson juked and sprinted for 117 yards in his first NFL start, Gus Edwards ran for 115 and the Baltimore Ravens ground out a 24-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday to end a three-game losing streak. Flashing the moves that enabled him to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy at Louisville, Jackson zipped in and out of...
Football playoffs: Sites, matchups announced for state semifinals
Football playoffs: Sites, matchups announced for state semifinals

Home team listed first. Pairings include AP state rank and record. Powell Olentangy Liberty (9-4) vs. 9 Lakewood St. Edward (9-3) at Mansfield Arlin Stadium 8 Pickerington Central (11-2) vs. 1 Cin. Colerain (13-0) at Piqua Alexander Stadium 6 Cin. Winton Woods (12-1) vs. 3 Massillon Washington (13-0) at Gahanna Lincoln Wilbur C. Strait Field 1 Akron...
Alter, Marion Local, Fort Loramie advance to football state semifinals
Alter, Marion Local, Fort Loramie advance to football state semifinals

Alter, Marion Local and Fort Loramie all won Week 13 regional finals and advanced to this week’s high school football state semifinals. D-III: Alter (12-1) vs. Norwalk (10-3), at Wapakoneta Harmon Field, 7 p.m. Friday. D-VI: Marion Local (12-1) vs. Attica Seneca East (12-1), at Lima Spartan Stadium, 7 p.m. Friday. D-VII: Fort Loramie (12-1) vs...
Dayton captures Atlantic 10 volleyball tournament title for 13th time
Dayton captures Atlantic 10 volleyball tournament title for 13th time

The Dayton Flyers won the Atlantic 10 Conference volleyball tournament championship Sunday, beating Virginia Commonwealth 18-25, 25-15, 19-25, 25-16 and 15-12 at the Siegel Center in Richmond, Va. Dayton (23-7) avenged a loss to VCU in the 2017 championship game and two losses this season to VCU in the regular season. Dayton won its 13th championship...
More Stories