The Clemson Insider has confirmed that Clemson basketball standout Aamir Simms has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft and will return to Clemson for his senior season.
Simms declared himself eligible for the 2020 NBA Draft on March 31. The third-team All-ACC forward averaged 13.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season, helping the Tigers advance to the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He played in 30 of the Tigers’ 31 games.
CBS College Basketball reporter Jon Rothstein first reported Simms’ return to Clemson Monday morning. TCI then confirmed with our sources that Simms had contacted the Clemson coaching staff and told them he was returning to school for the 2020-’21 season.
The news of Simms’ return comes on the same day student-athletes–men’s and women’s basketball and football players–return to the Clemson area to begin pre-participation physicals with Clemson Sports Medicine. This physical includes a test for COVID-19, as well as an antibody test. Student-athletes must also complete a daily screening before entering facilities.
If the student-athletes pass these tests then they will be allowed to begin voluntary workouts next Monday (June 8) at their athletic facilities. This is the first action the Clemson Athletic department has had since the COVID-19 pandemic shut everything down on March 12.
Like other former Tigers have done in the past, Simms maintained his eligibility while he went through the draft process. Jaron Blossomgame entered his name into the draft pool following his junior season in 2016, but he maintained his eligibility and came back for his senior year. Donte Grantham did the same the following year in 2017, and two years ago in 2018, former Tigers Shelton Mitchell and Marcquise Reed did it.
Clemson head coach Brad Brownell was optimistic about Simms returning to Clemson for his senior year. He told TCI on May 14 he thought the 6-foot-7, 250-pound forward would return to Clemson.
However, Clemson thought it might have to wait longer to get a decision from Simms after the NCAA on May 13 extended its deadline indefinitely for college basketball prospects to decide whether they want to keep their names in consideration for the NBA Draft. June 3 was the previous date for players to decide to return to school or continue on with the NBA Draft process.
NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said a decision on the new withdrawal date for college players will be made once the NBA has determined a timeline for the pre-draft process. The NBA announced on May 1 it was postponing the combine and the draft lottery as league debates on how the 2019-’20 season might be completed.
In the meantime, Simms continued to work through the whole process the best he could considering the COVID-19 pandemic put everything on hold.
“I think what is happening is Aamir is having some conversation with a team or two virtually,” Brownell said on May 14. “That is good for him to find out about the process a little bit more. For him to get to know some folks and for folks to get to know him. He is such a personal guy and a bright young man that any conversation he has with people in that world he is going to impress them.
“It is also great he is going to get some feedback that hopefully motivates him if he decides to come back. We are optimistic that he is. He is working really hard. He is in town and he is trying to stay in shape the best he can.”
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