Gerel Simmons and Anthony Lee, two globetrotters in Gold

Sometimes the LEB Oro, as a chameleon that it is, acquires different players in the form of signings. A clear profile is from abroad with some experience already in professionalism, with plenty of quality, but who by chance of fate has passed through various countries and continents without being consolidated, something that allows him to be in Gold at a peak of his career, this step through the category could be a turning point for him. Today we break down the profiles of Gerell Simmons (HLA Alicante) and Anthony Lee (CB Almansa with Afanion), which will debut this 21/22 in the LEB Oro.

Gerel simmons
1993/188 cm

New squad practically the one that has formed HLA Alicante after the departure of Rivero, remaining only two players from the past year (Llompart and Arcos). But the new faces are classic players who know the category (Matulionis, Jakstas, Van Zegeren, Tomàs) and only two arrive from abroad: the Croatian shooter Pilepic, who has already played in Spain, and the scorer specialist Gerel Simmons, who arrives as star booster.

Simmons fulfills that profile of a globetrotting player who arrives at the best moment of his career at LEB Gold. On 12/11 he began his university career at Brevard (NCAA-DII), where he stayed for two seasons until requesting a change to a higher level team in DII, arriving the 13/14 to Lincoln Memorial, previous year redshirt. There he was little by little assuming relevance, until exploding in his senior year (15/16: 20.9 pt, 3.1 ace) in a team with many high-level people like Choice, Terry or the late Pinson. Your year rookie (16/17) he started it in Bulgaria, in a heavyweight team like Rilski, with whom he played European competition, but did not have continuity and ended the season in the Argentine second division (TNA) with Ciclista Juniense (without prominence). In the summer of 2017 he had one of his stellar moments, playing the Metro in Uruguay with Verdirrojo, demonstrating his scoring skills (27.9 pt, 5.9 re). He would return to Europe on 17/18, signing with Ibar Rožaje of Montenegro to break it in the six games he played in the Balkan League (25.8 pts, 4.8 as). Then he would give another turn to his career by leaving for Libya, where in 2018 he would play the Libyan supercup and the Afroleague, leaving good scoring records and getting another contract in the North African country for 18/19.

He would return to Europe again on 19/20, landing at the Icelandic Tindastóll (17 dc, 27 mi, 18.3 pt, 2.9 as). I was going to go to Africa to play The BAL with a team from Senegal, but the coronavirus appeared and everything stopped. Finally, last 20/21 he drew the attention of the Artland Dragons of the German ProA, being the top scorer in the league (32 pa, 29 mi, 19.6 pt, 3.9 as) and leading his team to the final phase between the eight best. It would give him time to spend a brief stay in the Dominican Republic (playing TBS with San Carlos) before landing in Spain.

Simmons is an experienced player overseas full and with a very clear profile such as scoring points for his team. We are talking about a combo guard who likes to take the ball; although he can climb it because of his good handling and ability to create, I think he is more comfortable in the ‘two’ position. Despite her size, she has a good upper body. Very comfortable in the game of Q&A, with an unbalancing first step (mainly on the right side), he is very skillful penetrating the 1 × 1 towards the basket, with a variety of technical resources to finish (although sometimes he forces the shot). He is a player who cannot be left alone for a moment, because he can rise from any distance, very quickly to score. That ability from the triple with the ball makes him receive sticky marks that his teammates can take advantage of. He can also play without the ball to receive and shoot, although he feels more comfortable being the protagonist and in hot moments. Well in transition, it is not uncommon to see him finish the counterattack with a triple. As a good scorer, he sometimes acquires a one-dimensional character, although by intelligence he is always attentive to the rebound; in defense, although he is a player with fast hands, he is far from being a specialist and may be his weakest point.

His signing for the Lucentum Foundation seems very consistent with his coach Gonzalo García de Vitoria. With players of weight who know how to occupy their space such as Llompart, Matulionis or Tomàs, the Basque coach gains a true offensive talent with Simmons. A player with a very determined profile and who has always had Gonzalo in his teams (Spight and Zamora, two examples of his time in the COB). A player capable of creating his own baskets, taking the ball in hot moments and changing the fate of a game at critical moments with his 1 × 1. When Simmons feels important, he grows up and doesn’t fail. Without a doubt, the arrival of the top scorer of the German ProA has been to the right place. If he adapts, who knows if this globetrotter will manage to settle in Spain standing out.

Anthony Lee
1991/205 cm

Almansa has taken cruising speed, which already has the team practically closed in the absence of an internal signing, as declared by its coach, Rubén Perelló. A perimeter with experience in the category and full of gamers, with a backcourt with Santana, Josep Pérez, Polanco and Bivià, who are joined in the wings by the verticality of Nesbitt and the doll of Edu Martínez. Inside, faced with the demand of a complex market, the Almanseño team has launched into bets. One of them is the wrist of the open ‘four’ Gydra, who will share a position with the only interior with experience in Gold (the fibrous Bercy). Along with them, two different ‘fives’: on the one hand, the Greek Giannis Dimakopoulos (he debuted in professionalism in Silver), who has not finished breaking it in Europe, but who has always offered a constant performance (with many centimeters, He is not mobile, but he has the ability to pass and a good wrist, knowing how to make effective his size near the basket in defense and in attack, if he has won the position, although his game speed must be matched to the rhythm) and, on the other hand, Anthony Lee, who will seek to bring that explosiveness in the profile that last season towards Maxwell.

Anthony Lee is another traveler who will have his first experience in Spain. He arrived at Temple on 11/10, but an injury left him without playing. Then he grew in role until getting good averages (13.6 pt, 8.8 re) in his junior year (13/14), deciding to play his extra year as a Graduate Student at Ohio State, where he had a second unit role. He was going to make his debut in the professional world in Hungary on 15/16, but he failed the test and ended up doing it in Austria (until January in Furstenfeld, where he was a defensive specialist -8.0 pt, 7.5 d, 1.4 a-). At the end of the season he went to Uruguay, but only played three games. He returned to Europe on 16/17 by the hand of Estonian Rapla, but he immediately leaves and tries to try in the G-League with no luck. In December he arrived in Slovakia to soon go to the second division in Israel, where he stood out in Ironi Ramat Gan (15.3 pt, 12.5 d, 1.9 ta).

His good season saw Greek Rethymno give him a chance on 17/18, playing all season there (6.7 pt, 5.0 re, 1.0 ta). The following campaign (18/19) he arrived in Turkey (Yeni Mamak), but left shortly to set the direction for Lithuania, playing three months in Prienai (9 pa, 8.2 pt). In summer he would try sporadically in the Canadian CEBL (Hamilton Honey Badgers), returning on 19/20 to Greece, where his wife would also play (they became the first foreign pair of players to play in the Helena first division). He would play 11 games with Panionios (7.5 pt, 5.3 re) before leaving for Gostivar in North Macedonia, where he would only play two games before the outbreak of the pandemic. The last experience of the new Almanseño pivot was last season with the Yeni Mamak of the Turkish second division, where the coronavirus stopped him at the beginning of the season, picking up tone during the season (17 pa, 13.8 pt, 9.5 re, 0.6 ta) until that an injury from which he is already recovered stopped him in March.

Lee’s profile is clear. It must be recognized that despite his diverse career, he is a player who has found his profile as a second-unit specialist in high-level leagues, although without becoming consolidated (that’s why we see him in Gold, to be honest). His game is also clear: close to the rim, with game above him, but with mobility and power. It controls very well the blocking game and continuation, being able this course to be filled with the creators of Q&A de Almansa (Pérez and Santana, for example). He knows how to move without the ball to finish and works the offensive rebound very well. He also dares to play with his back to the basket to get a hook, although he is not a virtuous finisher. Don’t be fooled by that 67% T2; He gets a lot of 2 + 1 power (between 50-60% TL) and defines well in easy situations, but sometimes he also has those inexplicable failures that despair. He is not on display much from mid-range, where he has an inconsistent shot, and his arrival in transition through the center lane is very interesting. On defense, his impact is near the rim; Although he can hold the exchanges, he lacks that point in the lateral movements, feeling more comfortable near the rim (good timing to block and rebound instinct). In fact, his stint for many teams has been as a defensive specialist.

It is evident that Almansa will play at two different speeds depending on the pivot that is on the track. With Dimakopoulos he will have to lower his playing speed a level, but in return he finds a pivot who can create from the low and high post and with a good hand to take out ‘fives’ or leave room for Bercy to take advantage of his power. Lee is totally a Maxwell / Kone profile, a player who seems predestined to complement the ‘four’ tripler Gydra, a player of much Q&A and always attentive to the offensive rebound. The truth is that if Lee adapts to the LEB Oro, he is physically recovered from his injury and in theory he plays as a community (married to an Italian player) seems a good reinforcement for Almansa. In addition, in his last season he showed that he can also carry the weight of the team in the form of annotation.