May 28, 2012
San Antonio – With their depth depleted at the point guard position, the St. Mary’s men’s basketball team entered the offseason in search of a new point. Several, in fact.
Well, they got ’em.
Point guard Mark Simmons has signed on to play basketball with the Rattlers, head coach Jim Zeleznak announced, joining fellow signing Christian Bower (Jr., Chandler, Ariz.) to form an exciting tandem to take over a position that will have a dramatically new look next fall.
Simmons, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior transfer from Cochise College, averaged 10.6 points and 6.2 assists in 31 games with the Apaches. The Tucson, Ariz. (Santa Rita High School) native shot 47.5 percent from the floor, including 43.9 percent from 3-point range to provide the Rattlers another assassin from beyond the arc.
“With basically losing all three point guards (from last year’s team), we felt like we certainly needed to recruit a couple of quality players there,” said Zeleznak of Simmons, a two-year starter at Cochise. “Mark fits that bill. He’s been in a situation that they’ve won and he has really good instincts on the floor.”
Those instincts were honed while playing at Cochise under head coach Jerry Carrillo, whose program recently produced another Rattler in forward Ray Marshall, who started his junior and senior years at St. Mary’s from 2010-12. Coming from a winning program that produced 47 victories over the past two seasons, Simmons could be next in line.
His versatility will help his cause, as Simmons is skilled enough to play the point guard and off-guard positions.
“We also felt like he has that versatility and skillset that if we wanted to play him as a two-guard we could play him there,” said Zeleznak, noting Simmons also is a good defender. “He has the skillset to maybe play multiple positions for us or give us two point guards on the floor at the same time.”
The Rattlers were 19-9 last season, making the South Central Regional after claiming the Heartland Conference Tournament postseason title.