Those who bemoan the mid-range jump shot as a lost art haven't seen Prairie View Lady Spartans' senior Tori Simmons play.
Knocking down the medium-range jumper with ease, Simmons is second on the team in scoring (9.0) and third in rebounding (5.3).
Far from just a scorer, the versatile 5-7 Simmons can play shooting guard or forward effectively.
“If she can't get an open shot on the wing, she can go down and post up,” Prairie View coach Ed Bain said.
Bain says the fundamentally sound Simmons has the complete skill set.
“Tori's a good passer,” Bain said. “She's really a forward, but against the press, she's one of our key persons brining the ball down.”
Simmons' contributions aren't limited to the offensive side of the floor.
“When we have to put a stopper on somebody, Tori usually takes the best offensive player,” Bain said.
Simmons' effort on the court is a carryover from her practice habits.
“Tori's a hard worker. She's always leading the team in sprints during practice,” Bain said.
There are times when Simmons plays slightly out of control, but that's a problem Bain can deal with.
“Sometimes she tries to over achieve, which causes some miscues, but it's never because of a lack of effort,” Bain said.
Day in and day out, game or practice, Simmons can be counted out.
“Tori doesn't say much,” Bain said. “She just goes out there and does her job.”
Besides playing basketball, Simmons has compiled and 3.7 grade point average and is a member of the Lady Spartans’ tennis team.
BDE: When did you start playing basketball?
Tori Simmons: In the third grade. Dennis Baker was the coach.
BDE: What are your favorite and least favorite aspects of basketball?
Simmons: I hate the running, but that's part of it.
The best part is getting to spend every day with my teammates and play with them every day.
BDE: What is the biggest improvement you have made since your sophomore year?
Simmons: I can shoot a lot better.
BDE: Do you believe the Mississippi tournaments helped prepare the Lady Spartans for district play and the postseason?
Simmons: I think they have. We played some good teams over there and it's always good to play against quality competition because it makes you better.
BDE: What improvements do the Lady Spartans need to make with district play getting into full swing?
Page 2 of 2 - Simmons: I think we need to work more as a team and probably pass the ball and find open people a little more than we do. Sometimes we get in too big of a hurry and rush our shots.
BDE: What are your team and individual goals for the remainder of the season?
Simmons: I definitely want us to win district and possibly win state.
My only individual goal is to do whatever it takes to help the team win.
BDE: What are your thoughts on the future of the program?
Simmons: Kristen Brooke (Oliphant) and I are the only two seniors, so I think they will go far next year.
BDE: What are you going to miss the most about playing high school basketball?
Simmons: I'm going to miss dancing in the locker room with all the girls right before the game. We've done that ever since I've been here.
BDE: Outside of basketball, what is something you hope to accomplish during your senior year?
Simmons: I'm just trying to graduate (laughing).
BDE: What is something that people would be surprised to know about you?
Simmons: A lot of people would probably be surprised to know that I like to talk a lot. I'm usually pretty quiet until I get to know somebody.
BDE: What do you like best about attending Prairie View?
Simmons: I like how everybody knows everybody and that we're close like a family.
BDE: What are your future plans?
Simmons: I don't know where yet, but I plan on going to college and being a physical therapist.
BDE: Why physical therapy?
Simmons: I think it will be nice to be able to interact with people and get to know them while you're helping them.