In the Buffalo State Bengals men’s basketball team locker room sat a lone figure waiting eagerly to get on the bus to their next game.
That person was Bengals leading scorer shooting guard Jake Simmons, who recently won the State University of New York Athletic Conference men’s basketball player of the week award.
To Simmons, confidence has played an important role in his game this year.
“The main improvement that I have seen is I have a lot more confidence,” Simmons said. “I’m shooting far more better now cause I’m shooting the ball knowing it’s going in versus shooting it and thinking I am going to miss it.”
Simmons earned the honor after leading the Bengals to a 94-87 win over Pitt-Bradford where he was 10-12 from the floor, including 3-5 from behind the 3-point line and was 4-4 from the free throw line tallying 27 points total.
According to Bengals head coach Fajri Ansari, as good as Simmons already is, Ansari feels that Simmons still needs to work on slashing and penetrating on offense and his overall defensive game even though he is already good at anticipating steals.
Simmons plays a vital role on the team Ansari said.
“He is very important as he is our leading scorer returning from last year,” the coach said. “He gives us a 3-point outside threat, but he is getting better at the other aspects of the game. When he is on having a good game that really does make a difference, but when he is off we tend to struggle a little.”
Ansari said the team as a whole needs to be more vocal as there is only one senior and one junior starting. However, he has noticed that Simmons has been taking on more responsibility as a leader of the team.
Simmons also has noticed this, he said.
“I feel like I have to this year, because of the (credentials) that I won last year and the examples that I have set last year as a team,” Simmons said. “Now, that I know them more, I feel like I can talk to them better and show them the way on the court.”
According to the SUNYAC website, Simmons leads the conference in scoring averaging 21.3 points per a game, steals averaging 3.17 per a game and 3-point field goals made averaging 4.0 a game. Also, Simmons is 12th in the conference in field goal percentage with a .522 percentage. He is fourth in the conference in 3-point field goal percentage with a .480 percentage and is second in the conference in minutes played, averaging 34.17 minutes per a game.
To Simmons the award is a big deal.
“It is a great achievement, because this is one of the biggest awards I have ever won in my entire life,” he said.