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Inside Blazers First-Round Pick Anfernee Simons’ Year at IMG Academy

A closer look at Portland guard Anfernee Simons’ year at IMG Academy.

IMG Academy

The mystery behind the Trail Blazers’ first-round pick Anfernee Simons has been a topic of debate in the aftermath of the NBA Draft. Thanks to IMG Academy’s cooperartion, Blazer’s Edge contributor Steve Dewald gained access to Simons’ raw numbers from his post-grad season. Along with statistics, IMG Academy supplied information on how their program guides aspiring athletes along a path to reach their goals.

With this information, we hope to shine a light on Simons’ path to Portland.

Don’t Call It a High School

The program that Simons enrolled in for the 2017-18 year was IMG Academy’s Post Graduate program. In their own words, IMG Academy explained how Simons’ post-grad program differed from a standard year high school:

He was in the Post-Graduate program for student-athletes. Also known as a ‘gap year.’ For all aspiring collegiate or pro players, a PG year offers a chance to physically and mentally develop as a player, while enhancing collegiate opportunities and/or academic standing.

IMG Academy’s program is specifically geared at improving a prospect’s chances to flourish as an athlete on and off the court. A typical day for Simons included college courses, sports-specific mental and physical exercises, leadership training, and other forms of cross training.

Here is the sample schedule that IMG Academy shared with Blazer’s Edge:

7:00 – Shoot around

8:00 – Breakfast

9:10 – Introductory College English course

12:00 PM – Lunch

2:00 – Practice

4:00 – Physical Conditioning (weights or dynamic movement)

5:30 – Athletic & Personal Development discipline (varied through year – yoga, mental

conditioning, leadership, etc.)

6:30 – Dinner; Free time

10:00 – Lights out

Notable Alumni & Competition

One of the biggest criticisms facing Simons is the level of competition that he faced while attending IMG Academy. Simons became the first player since Bucks big man Thon Maker to make the jump to the first round from the academy ranks. IMG Academy helped explain the gauntlet that the 19-year-old guard faced last year.

The IMGA Post-Grad team plays a schedule comprised of more than 30 games, including national tournaments. Opposing teams include the likes of other prep schools and junior college programs.

Along with Satnam Singh, Simons became the second IMG Academy player to make the immediate transition to an NBA organization. Jonathan Isaac, the No. 6 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, considered making the jump directly from IMG Academy before opting to attend Florida State for one season.

Inside the Numbers

With the cooperation of IMG Academy’s Analytics Department, we compiled a few notable boxscores from Simons’ 2017-18 season.

Anfernee Simons Game Logs

11/29 vs. IMPACT 20 8-14 4-6 0-0 4 4 0 0
12/6 vs. Bristol Prep 24 10-17 3-5 1-2 5 6 0 0
12/12 @ Montverde 21 5-10 1-2 10-12 12 4 0 4
12/18 vs. Tilton 24 10-19 3-8 1-3 9 6 1 5
1/5 @ Florida Southwestern College 34 12-22 4-8 6-8 6 1 2 4
1/10 vs. Blue Devils 20 7-10 4-6 2-3 4 1 0 4
1/14 @ Vermont Academy 29 11-22 4-9 3-4 5 3 1 0
2/20 vs. Montverde 24 8-19 2-5 6-7 7 4 0 2

Simons’ performances against Montverde and Vermont Academy are notable from a competition standpoint. Montverde has consistently produced top-level talent, alumni R.J. Barrett will join the Duke Blue Devils this year, and fellow prep-classmate Andrew Nembhard was the prized recruit for the Florida Gators (note - both Barrett and Nembhard were on Montverde’s high school team, not the post-grad squad). Vermont Academy featured future Vanderbilt big man Simisola Shittu. All three players mentioned (along with Simons) were featured on ESPN’s Top 100 Recruits for 2018.

IMG Academy included Simons’ complete stats on the year to go with the game logs featured above. Here is a closer look at his numbers from last year:

2017-18 Stats

  • PPG: 22.4 (560)
  • APG: 3.1 (77)
  • STL: 1.1 (28)
  • RPG: 6.7 (168)
  • TO: 2.3 (57)
  • FG%: 50.1 (207-413)
  • 3P%: 44.9 (80-178)

Thank you to IMG Academy for answering our information inquiry promptly. Simons’ Trail Blazers debut will likely take place on July 7 when Portland faces Utah at the Las Vegas Summer League.

—Steve / @SteveDHoops /