Derek Simpson

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I have run a high school All-Star game in CT for many years. Howard Garfinkel started the game in 1962. The boys' game features CT vs NJ. Usually the best seniors. The game was held today and Derek was among the 3 best players. Many similarities to a young Geo. Very mature and very tenacious. Needs some bulk and muscle and perhaps a some longer range on his shot. Certainly can envision him as a 3-year starter.Mark Armstrong was outstanding.
 

Scangg

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His maturity in the Geo discord interview has me even higher on Simpson contributing early as a freshman next year
 
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needmorecowbell

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I have run a high school All-Star game in CT for many years. Howard Garfinkel started the game in 1962. The boys' game features CT vs NJ. Usually the best seniors. The game was held today and Derek was among the 3 best players. Many similarities to a young Geo. Very mature and very tenacious. Needs some bulk and muscle and perhaps a some longer range on his shot. Certainly can envision him as a 3-year starter.Mark Armstrong was outstanding.
That’s great to hear. How many future div 1 players were in the game?
 
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NewJerseyHawk

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I made the drive up to see the game live and it was my 2nd year attending RU72s production/game. The place (St Joseph's HS in Trumbull CT, was very nice.

As far as D1 players, here is the list

For the Connecticut team.

Donovan Clingan (Top 50 kid. 2022, UCONN commit). Immediate impact guy off the bench for UCONN, has all the features and tools. Somewhat mobile or more mobile than UConn starter Adama Sanogo. Clingan presented a 3 point shot. That separates him from the traditional bigs, along with his ability to be a defensive player in the paint.

Matty Curtis (Fairfield, Jay Young has a solid development piece, knows how to play and get to his space to shoot). Not a superb handle as a SG, but good enough. If he had another step of quickness or suddenness, he would be a higher level kid (6'3").....if you give him space, he will knock down 3s.

DaShon Gittens (FIU).....I liked this kid, did everything well, definitely a player that I wouldn't be surprised would transfer up a level in a couple of years....6'3 combo guard. Plus defender.

New Jersey

Mark Armstrong.....well, it's one thing to see a highlight reel or video....it's a whole other thing in person. Armstrong checks every box as a top prospect.

Plays with pace and under control....understands defenses played against him. Did turn down some very good looks from 3, because defenses were playing off of him, taking driving lanes away. Can get anywhere on the court to score, off the dribble. Probably a blend or version of Corey Sanders/Jacob Young, just with an elite handle with both hands and might be the quickest kid I've seen in HS, that understands how to play.

If Armstrong immediately improves his catch and shoot or one-dribble, rise and shoot, he probably locks himself in as an NBA player. My only fear is he turned down some immediate open looks that I wanted to see him take. In a Nova system, I think he's actually someone who "might" be a bit handcuffed, if it's the Jay Wright/Jalen Brunson/Collin Gillespie type of pace of play..... Armstrong is way too talented to be handcuffed....if there was a RU pie in the sky scenario, Armstrong doesn't like the Nova pace of play and decided to transfer to RU and pair up with Simpson. A Simpson/Armstrong backcourt would be absolutely lights out in the future.

Tommy Conniff (6'11 kid) headed to Lehigh. Didn't wow me. But understands how to not get his shot blocked because Clingan was a menace in the paint. Safe development type of kid down the road.

Donovan Long (Manhattan commit). Played this past season at Rutgers Prep and Matt Bloom. In these types of settings where there are a lot of scramble types of plays, Long hustles and scraps and can elevate at 6'6". Played with a knee sleeve (not a brace) so I am 99% certain he is probably not close to 100% right now. He showed a decent shooting stroke from the top of the key and built strong and plays through contact (probably got fouled 3 times on 3 separate drives in 2nd half, where the refs let the kids play). I think he is a kid who will be another one that does all the dirty work you need on a winning roster. I didn't see any noticeable gaps or weaknesses in his game. Definitely a good fit at a MAAC or A10 early in his college career, where he can earn minutes right away.

Finally, RU commit. Derek Simpson.

I actually don't think the Geo comparison is really that easy to make. He does some things much better than Geo did early in his RU career. He has a better handle, better quickness in both directions or a quicker 1st step. Willing defender with active hands......Good range on jump shot (did not knock down a couple of transition 3s).

Was willing to take his defensive player off the dribble and challenge Clingan at the basket, but Clingan wingspan altered a couple of layup attempts.

On defense, I casually counted at least 6 steals/deflections. And add in a couple of assists to Armstrong late.

Simpson is sneaky athletic. Had 2 explosive dunks in the 4th quarter and understands how to play with pace, where he can play faster and if not, also looks very comfortable. Not anywhere near the bounce as an Armstrong, who probably lands in that 1% category for kids in our area.

Simpson probably is 10 lbs of muscle away from playing Game 1, Day 1 at RU and not looking lost. I think he is a 3/4 year starter for RU and even in the mid 250s at a rating, is criminally underrated right now.

The Geo comparison is kinda based on his mature demeanor and you can pick up right away, he has intelligence and an awareness of how to play. He has been well coached by others (parents, AAU, HS).

If he gets more consistency on his jumper, which usually comes with more reps and strength, he has a higher upside than Geo. I don't think or know it would be very fair to expect "closing Geo Baker or late-in game, Baker". But I am very confident that the tape I watched before Sunday in CT, matched what I expected. He is a absolute B1G guard and a steal for Brandin Knight, Pike and RU.
 
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Scangg

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I made the drive up to see the game live and it was my 2nd year attending RU72s production/game. The place (St Joseph's HS in Trumbull CT, was very nice.

As far as D1 players, here is the list

For the Connecticut team.

Donovan Clingan (Top 50 kid. 2022, UCONN commit). Immediate impact guy off the bench for UCONN, has all the features and tools. Somewhat mobile or more mobile than UConn starter Adama Sanogo. Clingan presented a 3 point shot. That separates him from the traditional bigs, along with his ability to be a defensive player in the paint.

Matty Curtis (Fairfield, Jay Young has a solid development piece, knows how to play and get to his space to shoot). Not a superb handle as a SG, but good enough. If he had another step quicker, he would be a higher level kid (6'3").....if you give him space, he will knock down 3s.

DaShon Gittens (FIU).....I liked this kid, did everything well, definitely a player that I wouldn't be surprised would transfer up a level in a couple of years....6'3 combo guard. Plus defender.

New Jersey

Mark Armstrong.....well, it's one thing to see a highlight reel or video....it's a whole other thing in person.

Plays with pace and under control....understands defenses played against him. Did turn down some very good looks from 3, because defenses were playing off of him, taking driving lanes away. Can get anywhere on the court to score, off the dribble. Probably a blend or version of Corey Sanders/Jacob Young, just with an elite handle with both hands and might be the quickest kid I've seen in HS, that understands how to play.

Tommy Conniff (6'11 kid) headed to Lehigh. Didn't wow me. But understands how to not get his shot blocked because Clingan was a menace in the paint. Safe development tape of kid down the road.

Donovan Long (Manhattan commit). Played this past season at Rutgers Prep and Matt Bloom. In these types of settings where there are a lot of scramble types of plays, Long hustles and scraps and can elevate at 6'6". Played with a knee sleeve (not a brace) so I am 99% certain he is probably not close to 100% right now. He showed a decent shooting stroke from the top of the key and built strong and plays through contact (probably got fouled 3 times on 3 separate drives in 2nd half, where the refs let the kids play). I think he is a kid who will be another one that does all the dirty work you need on a winning roster. I didn't see any noticeable gaps or weaknesses in his game. Definitely a good fit at a MAAC or A10 early in his college career, where he can earn minutes right away.

Finally, RU commit. Derek Simpson.

I actually don't think the Geo comparison is really that easy to make. He does some things much better than Geo did early in his RU career. He has a better handle, better quickness in both directions or a quicker 1st step. Willing defender with active hands......Good range on jump shot (did not knock down a couple of transition 3s).

Was willing to take his defensive player off the dribble and challenge Clingan at the basket, but Clingan wingspan altered a couple of layup attempts.

On defense, I casually counted at least 6 steals/deflections. And add in a couple of assists to Armstrong late.

Simpson is sneaky athletic. Had 2 explosive dunks in the 4th quarter and understands how to play with pace, where he can play faster and if not, also looks very comfortable. Not anywhere near the bounce as an Armstrong, who probably lands in that 1% category for kids in our area.

Simpson probably is 10 lbs of muscle away from playing Game 1, Day 1 at RU and not looking lost. I think he is a 3/4 year starter for RU and even in the mid 250s at a rating, is criminally underrated right now.

The Geo comparison is kinda based on his mature demeanor and you can pick up right away, he has intelligence and an awareness of how to play. He has been well coached by others (parents, AAU, HS).

If he gets more consistency on his jumper, which usually comes with more reps and strength, he has a higher upside than Geo. I don't think or know it would be very fair to expect "closing Geo Baker or late-in game, Baker". But I am very confident that the tape I watched before Sunday in CT, matched what I expected. He is a absolute B1G guard and a steal for Brandin Knight, Pike and RU.
Was Simpson playing SG or did he run any point? Where do you see him fitting better at RU?
 

NewJerseyHawk

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Was Simpson playing SG or did he run any point? Where do you see him fitting better at RU?
They both Armstrong and Simpson just got the ball and both started the offense. I think a fair assessment for Armstrong and Simpson is just a guard. They can both score so easily that it is hard to say in this type of setting, that Simpson is a true PG.

If I needed one to be more of a PG, it would be Simpson. Armstrong is gifted and has explosion that probably is more likely to be seen in the Big 12 or SEC from their guards. I honestly know there's no way you turn down Jay Wright if he offers, but I am honestly not sure if the fit is there.
 
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Scangg

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Thanks for the write-ups.

Simpson will benefit a lot going against Miller and all our length in practice.
That really is a great point. If I'm Pike, I tell Miller to be up in Simpson's jock all the time in practice to get him ready for the B1G.

When Simpson takes it to the rim he has to deal with finishing against Cliff. He won't see a more athletic 5 in the B1G

Great prep to get used to the level of competition
 

RUJMM78

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I'm more concerned about his abilty to make jump shots off the dribble.
 
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RUSCFORMERLYRULOU

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That really is a great point. If I'm Pike, I tell Miller to be up in Simpson's jock all the time in practice to get him ready for the B1G.

When Simpson takes it to the rim he has to deal with finishing against Cliff. He won't see a more athletic 5 in the B1G

Great prep to get used to the level of competition
Jeez, is that all Miller is going to be good for? One would hope he might show us something else he can do this year
 
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Scangg

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Jeez, is that all Miller is going to be good for? One would hope he might show us something else he can do this year
No one said that's all Miller is going to be good for.

Tough defenders help teammates develop their offensive game in practice. That's just how basketball works. Just like going against a great offensive player in practice will help you develop your defense
 

Scangg

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To be fair Caleb flashed offensively as a freshman (25 point game against Illinois). Miller came nowhere close to the same. Still more than enough time for him to take a leap offensively but there’s reason for concern (0 made field goals in his last 15 games played)
Caleb also shot 35.7% from 3 freshman year and had a smooth stroke with more arc. It seems those injuries may have derailed his offensive game
 

NewJerseyHawk

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I'm more concerned about his abilty to make jump shots off the dribble.

It's nothing to worry about in a glorified pick up game where kids who probably haven't played together other than some practices. Everything he does immediately translates to the next level.

Simpson has solid form and range/rotation on his shot or release. He is not a dominant player in any one aspect but has no weaknesses to his game that I can see at the college level. If he knocked down transition three, I wouldn't be shocked, Armstrong doesn't hit those shots, but did make an impressive pull up 3 in the end.....he has unique ability because he's a plus athlete.

Simpson immediately plugs into the RU rotation, I am not Pike or know who will be brought into the portal, but I would not bring in another guard until 2023 and let Simpson, Mulcahy and Miller handle the lead guard duties.

The other ideal long term upside with Simpson is he's a perfect compliment to RHJs little brother, Dylan Harper, who is a 2024 SG at Don Bosco Prep. Simpson and Harper would be outstanding guard duo for RU as well.
 

richthedentist

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It's nothing to worry about in a glorified pick up game where kids who probably haven't played together other than some practices. Everything he does immediately translates to the next level.

Simpson has solid form and range/rotation on his shot or release. He is not a dominant player in any one aspect but has no weaknesses to his game that I can see at the college level. If he knocked down transition three, I wouldn't be shocked, Armstrong doesn't hit those shots, but did make an impressive pull up 3 in the end.....he has unique ability because he's a plus athlete.

Simpson immediately plugs into the RU rotation, I am not Pike or know who will be brought into the portal, but I would not bring in another guard until 2023 and let Simpson, Mulcahy and Miller handle the lead guard duties.

The other ideal long term upside with Simpson is he's a perfect compliment to RHJs little brother, Dylan Harper, who is a 2024 SG at Don Bosco Prep. Simpson and Harper would be outstanding guard duo for RU as well.
We can only hope that we get Dylan that would be awesome!!
 
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RUSCFORMERLYRULOU

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It's nothing to worry about in a glorified pick up game where kids who probably haven't played together other than some practices. Everything he does immediately translates to the next level.

Simpson has solid form and range/rotation on his shot or release. He is not a dominant player in any one aspect but has no weaknesses to his game that I can see at the college level. If he knocked down transition three, I wouldn't be shocked, Armstrong doesn't hit those shots, but did make an impressive pull up 3 in the end.....he has unique ability because he's a plus athlete.

Simpson immediately plugs into the RU rotation, I am not Pike or know who will be brought into the portal, but I would not bring in another guard until 2023 and let Simpson, Mulcahy and Miller handle the lead guard duties.

The other ideal long term upside with Simpson is he's a perfect compliment to RHJs little brother, Dylan Harper, who is a 2024 SG at Don Bosco Prep. Simpson and Harper would be outstanding guard duo for RU as well.
So essentially you are saying we won’t score next year. We absolutely need a scoring 2/3 swing man in the portal.
 
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RU_DIO

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I have run a high school All-Star game in CT for many years. Howard Garfinkel started the game in 1962. The boys' game features CT vs NJ. Usually the best seniors. The game was held today and Derek was among the 3 best players. Many similarities to a young Geo. Very mature and very tenacious. Needs some bulk and muscle and perhaps a some longer range on his shot. Certainly can envision him as a 3-year starter.Mark Armstrong was outstanding.
Yeah, my friend was Armstrong's main recruiter. He thinks he has a chance to be really good.
 

RUDiddy777

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Caleb also shot 35.7% from 3 freshman year and had a smooth stroke with more arc. It seems those injuries may have derailed his offensive game

He had a rep as a sharpshooter coming out of high school. Think it’s a combo of the injuries and him never needing to be the focal point of the offense. Kind of torn… like the idea of Geo, Ron and Caleb riding off into the sunset together… but think Caleb may get the opportunity to be focal point of the offense he won’t get if he goes pro.
 
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RUChoppin

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He had a rep as a sharpshooter coming out of high school. Think it’s a combo of the injuries and him never needing to be the focal point of the offense. Kind of torn… like the idea of Geo, Ron and Caleb riding off into the sunset together… but think Caleb may get the opportunity to be focal point of the offense he won’t get if he goes pro.
McConnell has been much better a step or two inside the arc than he has been when his toes are behind the line.

As a freshman, the line was 20'9"... which went up to 22'1.75" his sophomore year. That extra 16.75" pushed him a little outside his comfortable range. The high school line is 19'9"
 

RUsojo

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McConnell has been much better a step or two inside the arc than he has been when his toes are behind the line.

As a freshman, the line was 20'9"... which went up to 22'1.75" his sophomore year. That extra 16.75" pushed him a little outside his comfortable range. The high school line is 19'9"
McConnell is a better offensive player when on the ball than off. Even that being said, he made small strides off the ball this year.

Year 1 offensively he played pg, 2/3 wing, year 4 mixed.
 

RU84

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It's nothing to worry about in a glorified pick up game where kids who probably haven't played together other than some practices. Everything he does immediately translates to the next level.

Simpson has solid form and range/rotation on his shot or release. He is not a dominant player in any one aspect but has no weaknesses to his game that I can see at the college level. If he knocked down transition three, I wouldn't be shocked, Armstrong doesn't hit those shots, but did make an impressive pull up 3 in the end.....he has unique ability because he's a plus athlete.

Simpson immediately plugs into the RU rotation, I am not Pike or know who will be brought into the portal, but I would not bring in another guard until 2023 and let Simpson, Mulcahy and Miller handle the lead guard duties.

The other ideal long term upside with Simpson is he's a perfect compliment to RHJs little brother, Dylan Harper, who is a 2024 SG at Don Bosco Prep. Simpson and Harper would be outstanding guard duo for RU as well.
How is Simpson at helping create offense for his teammates? Drive and dish in the paint? Drive and kick?
 

SBP

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It's nothing to worry about in a glorified pick up game where kids who probably haven't played together other than some practices. Everything he does immediately translates to the next level.

Simpson has solid form and range/rotation on his shot or release. He is not a dominant player in any one aspect but has no weaknesses to his game that I can see at the college level. If he knocked down transition three, I wouldn't be shocked, Armstrong doesn't hit those shots, but did make an impressive pull up 3 in the end.....he has unique ability because he's a plus athlete.

Simpson immediately plugs into the RU rotation, I am not Pike or know who will be brought into the portal, but I would not bring in another guard until 2023 and let Simpson, Mulcahy and Miller handle the lead guard duties.

The other ideal long term upside with Simpson is he's a perfect compliment to RHJs little brother, Dylan Harper, who is a 2024 SG at Don Bosco Prep. Simpson and Harper would be outstanding guard duo for RU as well.
That’s what my wish list would be! Great backcourt.
For next season if we get Caleb back plus another Big to back up Cliff on portal, let’s go! If we get Princeton kid…. We are ok…
 

RU23

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That’s what my wish list would be! Great backcourt.
For next season if we get Caleb back plus another Big to back up Cliff on portal, let’s go! If we get Princeton kid…. We are ok…
Don’t think we’re landing the Princeton kid - probably Colorado bound.

Hammond much more realistic.

Don’t love our chances of Caleb returning, but he did seem pretty close with the whole team not just Ron and Geo.

If he does return and we snag Hammond, we have a chance to be good.
 

AZBlues

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How is Simpson at helping create offense for his teammates? Drive and dish in the paint? Drive and kick?
I'm sure this was posted previously, but in case anyone hasn't seen it, it's the 10 minute highlight clip of Lenape and Derek Simpson (#2 black uniform) vs Camden and DJ Wagner (#21 white uniform) from January... Gives a relatively good look at some of Derek's skills.

 
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Scangg

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I'm sure this was posted previously, but in case anyone hasn't seen it, it's the 10 minute highlight clip of Lenape and Derek Simpson (#2 black uniform) vs Camden and DJ Wagner (#21 white uniform) from January... Gives a relatively good look at some of Derek's skills.

I like his passing ability. His outside jumper had very little rotation
 

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I like his passing ability. His outside jumper had very little rotation
His dad was a great shooter and I think Derek was making at least one or two 3 pointers every game in HS. I don't know how many he was attempting though but I'm cautiously optimistic about his shooting.
 
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Eagleton96

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McConnell has been much better a step or two inside the arc than he has been when his toes are behind the line.

As a freshman, the line was 20'9"... which went up to 22'1.75" his sophomore year. That extra 16.75" pushed him a little outside his comfortable range. The high school line is 19'9"
That little bit of range is clearly a big issue for McConnell. Extend his range 6 inches and he's a whole other level of player.