Jackson Simmons is a good student, teammate, and a good basketball player. He is on scholarship with the University of North Carolina as a sophomore and he’s a backup forward on the North Carolina basketball team. That in a nut shell is all you need to know about Jackson Simmons. However, the lack of depth in North Carolina’s front court has really pushed Simmons into a more prominent role than he was in as a freshman.
However, in my honest opinion, North Carolina does not need Simmons in a more prominent role. I mean that in the absolute nicest way. While Simmons hustles and rebounds well, North Carolina needs guys like Brice Johnson and Joel James, who are more crucial to the outcome of this year’s team and future teams to come, to step up. In order for those players to do that, they need more minutes. Simmons is currently getting between five and six minutes of action a game and is averaging a little over one point per outing. A guy like Brice Johnson, for example, is playing 14 minutes a game and is averaging between nine and ten points per outing. I feel that if you took a few of those minutes away from Jackson and gave them to Brice then you would see Brice averaging double figures in scoring. That’s a big deal for a young team trying to win and young players trying to gain confidence.
I understand Roy Williams and his thought process. He is depleted on the low block and needs as many bodies in there as possible in order to give guys a breather. Jackson Simmons should only be used for that in the most dire siuation imaginable. The freshmen players should be more conditioned now to play longer stints if need be and typically Roy only plays them a couple of minutes at a time. I’d also much rather see minutes Simmons receives be given to guys like JP Tokoto or PJ Hairston who can bang on the low block as wing players. Both of those are better options from an offense and defensive perspective.
Look, Jackson is a nice kid and it’s fun when he does well, but we have a young team and a season that will be put under a lot of stress in conference play. During those times, we need to play the guys that are going to be able to get it done on the floor and help put wins on the board. Unfortunately, that guy is not Jackson Simmons. I’m not positive whether Roy will lower his time this weekend or evern the next, but hopefully in the near future, his time budget shifts more in the favor of other players.