CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Whether it was while he was growing up in Fluvanna County or during his two seasons at the Blue Ridge School, Aamir Simms says he always took the the basketball court with a chip on his shoulder.
And Simms says that hasn't changed heading into his junior season at Clemson.
“I will always play with a chip on my shoulder," Simms said Tuesday morning at ACC Operation Basketball. "Often times people overlook the Clemson men’s basketball program, and that’s just stuff that I take very deep and personal. But outside of that, it’s how I’ve always grown up. Being that unranked guy, and not being at certain camps. Stuff that’s always pushed me and motivated me to do better and prove people wrong.”
The media notes Clemson provided at ACC Operation Basketball called Simms "the heart and soul" of the program. The 6-8 forward has averaged 6.0 points and 3.9 rebounds in 21.0 minutes over 68 games through his first two seasons. He's the only starter the Tigers have back from last season - and his 8.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game are the most among Clemson's returning players.
Over the summer, Simms led Clemson with 15.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, guiding the Tigers to a 6-0 record and a championship representing the United States at the World University Games.
“Now he’s kind of going to get the chance as a junior now to show what he can do a little bit more," Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. "He’s going to get to take more shots. He’s going to play even more minutes. He’s going to have the ball in his hands in more scenarios. But he’s a guy we have a lot of confidence in, and I feel like he’s in a position where he’s going to take another big step as a player.”
Simms says his experience the past two seasons has given him a better idea of the details of playing in the ACC -- like which road arenas he prefers to play in, or what shots he's best suited to take. He has also appreciated biding his time behind upperclassmen in the Clemson program.
“Going into this year, I’m really excited to get out there and show the world who I am. Put my name out there officially, and get things flowing and get things going for my teammates," Simms said. "I’m just really excited to get on the court and play.”