Junior guard/forward Mike’L Simms was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time in his VCU career on Friday against Hampton.
Simms got the nod in place of junior guard De’Riante Jenkins, who missed the game with a heel bruise. He had five points against the Pirates.
Simms, who played at Highland Springs in high school, is now in his second year at VCU. He had a winding road back to Richmond.
Out of high school, Simms played at Bull City Prep in Durham, N.C. in 2015-16. Then, for the 2016-17 season, Simms moved on to Cowley Community College in Arkansas City, Kansas.
Coach Mike Rhoades officially added Simms in June 2017.
The 6-5, 210-pounder played in all 33 of VCU’s games last season and averaged 5.7 points in 17.3 minutes a game. He was 4 of 5 from deep in VCU’s season-opening win over Gardner-Webb this past Tuesday.
Rhoades said he thought Simms had some great defensive possessions to get the game going on Friday.
“And then, he's around the ball, he can rebound,” Rhoades said. “I want him to shoot, shoot probably more 3s than 2s. But he's starting to be aggressive downhill.”
After the Gardner-Webb game, Rhoades said that Simms is just better now. He said Simms is in the best shape of his life.
“I mean, I said this the other day, we have seven starters,” Rhoades said. “And he's one of them. And [Corey Douglas is] definitely one of them as well.”
Jenkins, meanwhile, is day-to-day. Rhoades said Friday that they would keep him off the heel on Saturday and then get him a good workout on Sunday and see how it goes from there.
“Hopefully he'll be ready to go Monday [against Bowling Green], we'll see,” Rhoades said.