Justin Simon had no sick emotions in the direction of Arizona when he left the varsity for St. John’s, and he hasn’t used his quick begin this season in his new residence as a chance to crow.
Whilst articles have leaked out about how a lot the Wildcats might use the 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore within the midst of a sluggish begin, Simon has refused to take satisfaction in proving those that doubted him flawed.
“I’m actually targeted on St. John’s and this yr and our group, and placing the previous behind me,” he stated in a telephone interview on Thursday because the Pink Storm ready to satisfy No. sixteen Arizona State on Friday at Staples Middle in Los Angeles. “I’m glad I went there for my freshman yr, however I’m having a variety of enjoyable at St. John’s and I’m actually excited this staff has one thing good happening.”
It has been every week of reunions for Simon on this two-recreation Western swing. He acquired the prospect to reconnect on Tuesday with former coaches and teammates, after St. John’s knocked off Grand Canyon within the Valley of the Solar Shootout in Phoenix. His old skool performed within the opener, defeating Texas A&M. The Wildcats have been all pleased for his emergence again East, telling him to “maintain stuffing the stat sheet.” And on Friday, he’ll play 87 miles from his hometown of Temecula, Calif., in entrance of as much as 50 relations and associates.
His quick household was additionally at Tuesday’s win, when Simon had one among his greatest video games of the season, with 17 factors and eleven rebounds. Via 9 video games, he has been certainly one of St. John’s (eight-1) most constant gamers, keying the staff’s defensive enhancements whereas averaging 10.6 factors, a group-excessive eight.three rebounds, three.9 assists and a couple of.6 steals per recreation.
“I didn’t assume I used to be going to start out off this quick on the defensive finish,” he stated. “I didn’t assume I used to be going to be that efficient so far as rebounding and steals. Offensively, I really feel like Tuesday was in all probability my greatest recreation of placing two halves collectively. I really feel I’m getting my really feel for the sport again.”
St. John’s will want Simon at his greatest Friday towards undefeated Arizona State (7-zero), the primary ranked group the Pink Storm have confronted this yr. Sophomore guard Marcus LoVett (sprained left knee) is predicted to overlook a 3rd straight recreation, placing much more of an onus on Simon and main scorer Shamorie Ponds.
“It’s a very good alternative to see how we match up with the most effective groups within the nation,” Simon stated.