With the recruiting for the Class of 2020 behind them, Jeff Capel and his staff are now focused on the Class of 2021 and beyond. From the offers that have been extended, adding a quality shooting guard is a big priority.
Class of 2021 four-star shooting guard Casey Simmons (6-foot-5, 17 pounds0) from Milton, Massachusetts was one of a few players last week that received a call from Capel to inform them of the news they’d received an offer from Pitt. Simmons attends Milton Academy in Massachusetts and is rated by 247 Sports as one of the Top 100 overall players in the Class of 2021 and the top ranked player in his state.
Pittsburgh Sports Now caught up with Simmons to get his thoughts on Pitt and quickly learned of the huge impression that his phone call with Capel had on him.
“I talked with him over a Zoom call and what stood out to me was the sense of family,” said Simmons. “Even though it was the first time that I talked with him, I left the conversation with the sense that I felt connected and felt close to him. I really appreciated that. After talking with Coach Capel, I also felt that he knew what it took and could help me get to my ultimate goal of reaching the NBA and he was fully supportative of that. He was also upfront and honest about things that I needed to work on that he could help with.”
Simmons isn’t the first recruit that brings up the sense of family after having talked with Capel/
“A lot of it comes from similarities with my family,” Simmons said. “My dad and his dad were from North Carolina and it was the way our dads were brought up. It just seemed like we knew how we conducted our lives and it seemed very similar. One thing that he said after we figured out that our families were very similar was that he told my parents that your son would be in good hands if he were to come to Pitt and I truly believe that because Coach Capel just seemed like someone that would be in my family.”
During the course of their talk, the topic of Simmons’ skillset was brought up and instead of bringing up the normal compliments that high level recruits hear, Capel said something different that caught Simmons attention.
“One thing that I appreciated because most coaches don’t get into this that much because they always talk about skill and ability, he recognized that I’m extremely competitive and I am,” said Simmons. “I actually believe that’s one of my best qualities regardless of all the other stuff. The will to compete and will to want to win and to thrive to be the best is what he saw in me.
“Few coaches talk about that and instead will just tell a player that wow you can do this or you can do that. For him to say that is the right read of me and I think that’s important to have in your program, kids that actually want to compete because ability will only get you so far.”
Initially, Simmons didn’t have any intentions of making a college decision anytime soon but with the lack of visits and uncertainty surrounding recruiting, his timetable appears to be moving up. Simmons told Pittsburgh Sports Now that he has a top seven that consists of Boston College, Miami, Northwestern, Pitt, Princeton, Texas and Yale.
“At first, I was going to wait until the visits opened back up but that now looks like a slower process than expected,” he said. “I think now that my decision making process has sped up a bit and I might doing something during the summer.”