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The "Diamond in the Rough"

It's rare to find a player who is extremely talented and hardworking, that goes almost unnoticed in the basketball world. Jonathan Simmons is that player.

If you're a fan of basketball, I'm sure you heard the story several times within the past few years. The one about the guy who paid a $150 to a local tryout for a D-League Team (now called G-League) in Austin, TX. In that try-out he blossomed in front of the Austin Spurs coaching staff, and impressed them enough to earn an invite to Training Camp. He would go on to perform at a high-level throughout two seasons with the Austin Spurs, and earned himself a 2-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs.

Simmons continued to impress on the San Antonio Spurs, as he did in the Development League with the Austin Spurs. Coming up with big-time chase down blocks all season, and earning the name "The Juice" as he was a part of the second unit in San Antonio.

What you may not have known is that before Jonathan Simmons became a household name in the NBA, he was rising star in the Houston area where talent is of the abundance. In the hot summer days in Houston, you could find him at the Legendary Fonde Community Center. A gym that has been known for having the best hoops in the country, and that's where he honed his skills on the basketball court. Competing in the NEX Pro League, that was put together and orchestrated by Casey Williams, Commissioner of the League and VP of the supporting non-profit, The No Excuses Foundation. Every Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, Jonathan Simmons would take the court with his team "Flight 713", and dominate the competition on both ends of the court. J-Simms averaged 25+points per game along with 7+rebounds to round out his nightly fest.

The City of Houston has known about Jonathan Simmons for some time, and the people aren't surprised at his performance thus far in the NBA. Tuesday night, he suited up for his new team the Orlando Magic, in a match-up against the best player in the world; LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Simmons capped off an impressive night by scoring 22-points in a single quarter and a 34-point performance overall, in a big win over the Cavs. It's safe to say that this "Diamond in the Rough" has put the world on notice that he's here to stay.

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