Simons — a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from IMG Academy (Fla.) — is a post-graduate player and eligible to enter this year’s draft. He confirmed the plans to ESPN on Thursday morning.
One of the top uncommitted recruits in the 2018 class, Simons is ranked No. 7 overall in that group, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He had already taken official visits to North Carolina State and Tennessee.
Memphis had picked up several picks on Simons’ 247Sports Crystal Ball page in recent days, coinciding with the Tigers’ hire of Penny Hardaway as their next head coach. Hardaway coached Simons at a USA Basketball camp in October and will be looking to make an immediate splash in recruiting circles.
UK was also expected to recruit Simons if he had intended to play college ball. He backed out of his commitment to Louisville last fall, following the removal of Rick Pitino as head coach. Simons would have been one of Pitino’s most highly touted recruits ever.
The latest ESPN mock draft for 2018, released earlier this week, projects Simons as the No. 19 overall pick.