It's the first day of the early basketball signing period, and forward Patrick Simon made his commitment to WSU official today by faxing in is letter of intent.
Simon is an interesting guy in that it seems like we've been waiting about half past forever for him to come to campus; he made waves when he committed to as a 14-year-old freshman. It was considered a little crazy because of his age, but also considered a major get for the program, as he was already 6-foot-7 and one of the top rated players in that age group.and the Cougs way back in 2007
"I've thought about it quite a bit and it all came to how good they've been doing this season, they're No. 9 now, and how coach [Tony] Bennett really made the team a top team," Simon told The Spokesman-Review. "I decided right from the beginning that if I was going to commit to a school that I wasn't going to back out of it. That's how I think about it. And it is kind of scary to think about it, that I'm only a freshman and it's a long ways away."
He blossomed over the next two years into one of the top small forward recruits in the country, but suffered a setback last year when a broken foot kept him out of action for his entire junior season. This led to a number of scouting services downgrading him a bit as a prospect.*
* By the way, if that doesn't show you how insanely silly much of this recruiting service nonsense is ...
Then, of course, the worst imaginable thing happened. WSU's coach leaves for another school. Simon re-opens his recruitment. Panic sweeps Cougar Nation.
Enter Ken Bone, who convinces Simon within a month to once again commit to the Cougs.
Why would Simon stick with the Cougs? Well, outside of the fact that his dad's a Coug and Bone's also got the Christian thing going for him like Tony did, Simon's probably an even better fit for Bone's system than Bennett's. ESPN.com's Scouts, Inc. described him this way back in July:
Few prospects in his size range in the national senior class shoot with the kind of quick release, range and accuracy that Simon does. He is a threat to knock in jumpers either in spot-up situations in transition, off of one or two quick dribbles, or in pick-and-pop.
He sounds to me like the perfect wing for a Bone offense. Just don't expect him to bang on the inside a bunch; although he's grown a couple of inches to 6-9 and "bulked up" to 205 pounds, he's not built for wear and tear inside. However, the Cougs have added some pretty serious length on the perimeter over the past few years, and Simon should fit in well with Bone's ball-pressure defense, too.
"I've had the opportunity to watch Patrick play for two years but always knowing he would end up here and kind of envious that he would be a Cougar and not at Portland State where I was," Bone said. "I think he's a player that has really good basketball IQ, he knows how to play, he's unselfish, and he's also a great shooter. I think he'll bring a lot to the table and we're excited to have him as part of the program."
All in all, this is still a fantastic signing for the Cougs.
What about the other guy?
Faisel Aden, a 6-foot-4 combo guard who commited a couple of days ago, has yet to fax in his letter. He told Cougfan that he simply had a flight to catch and was planning on sending it in later today. We'll have more on him when his signing becomes official.