Extreme Home Makeover was once a highly popular show on the ABC television network. Families in difficult situations would allow host Ty Pennington and his crew of craftsmen to decimate their dilapidated an aging homes and build them a beautiful new one. Panther fans are in the process of witnessing the Extreme Basketball Makeover of their basketball program. Yes, the host would be head coach Kevin Stallings.
Friday morning Stallings announced the dismissal of freshman point guard Justice Kithcart due to conduct detrimental to the team. There’s an old saying that says, “Out with the old and in with the new”. Stallings wasted little time offering Polk State and former Pittsburgh (PA) University Prep guard Troy Simons.
The 6-foot-1 inch prospect attended four Pittsburgh area high schools in five years high schools in five years: Brashear, Imani Christian, Renaissance Christian (no longer in existence) before ultimately graduating from University Prep. With the assistance of former Lock Haven star and mentor Rico Abbandanza, he made to Polk State in Haven, FL. The vagabond athlete finally settled in with the Eagles and developing into a prolific scorer. This year Simons is averaging 26.3 points per game, while shooting 40.9% from 3.
“It feels so great to get an offer from my hometown school. It’s really a dream come true,” said Simons.
“When I was back home from Christmas break, Pitt found out that I wasn’t committed to Middle Tennessee State anymore. They called my mentor (Rico Abbandanza) and invited us to go their home game against Virginia. That’s when the entire recruiting process started. We have kept in close contact ever since.”
“The Pitt coaches called and offered me last night,” he said. “It was a really exciting moment.”
Pitt hasn’t been the only school to take notice of Simons play. Memphis, Utah, Middle Tennessee State, Chattanooga, Dayton, New Mexico State and Portland State have all been in close contact. Simons was named the 2016 Suncoast Conference Co-Player of the Year.
“Pitt told me they want me to come in and score for them. They have four seniors leaving and Jamel Artis and Michael Young scored a lot of points,” he said. “They need somebody to help make up for the loss of offense. I can fill that role.”
“Pitt needs leadership as well. I can fill that role as well. Last year at Polk State we had a lot of freshmen players and I was the leader on the team. At Pitt it would basically be the same situation. I have no problem stepping up as a leader.”
Simons was asked to pinpoint his strengths as a basketball player. He stated, “Energy. I bring a lot of energy. I have a true passion for the game of basketball. I’m a strong scorer as well. On defense, I don’t hold back.”
Where does Pitt stand with Simons? He quickly stated, “Pitt is definitely number one for me. I’m coming back home from Pittsburgh on my spring break. I’ll make my final decision sometime after that.”