Arizona's Kobi Simmons Hopes to Walk Similar Path as Nuggets Malik Beasley

There never had to be a long, drawn-out speech detailing any advice. Nuggets shooting guard Malik Beasley and pro prospect Kobi Simmons already know what to do: Work. And then work some more. They’ve been doing it for years.

So, when Simmons stopped in Denver on Thursday as part of six players in town for a pre-draft workout, his talk with Beasley was about everything other than on-court matters. The two former teammates at St. Francis High School in Alpharetta, Ga., had catching up to do.

“We’ve been growing up together, so it’s just shown. It’s just seen,” Simmons said. “Advice-wise, just keep pushing. We’ve all worked out a million times together, practices, games, we know each other like that. So, I think it’s more just keep pushing. This is what we are built for.”

Simmons, a 6-6 guard, was a standout as a freshman at Arizona last season. A McDonald’s All-American, Simmons started in 19 of the 37 games he played with the Wildcats and was good when the games were big. He scored 18 points in his college debut, an Arizona win over Michigan State, and had a season-high 20 points in a Wildcats’ win at then-No. 3 UCLA.

What will Simmons take away most from his year in college?

“They teach you so much on defense, which is pretty much how the NBA plays defense, and gets you ready for the next level,” he said. “Being the help, knowing when to tag, knowing how to play defense on your man, angles, just everything. I think they do a great job of that coming in. Especially me being a freshman, I think they did a great job of helping me with that.”

Simmons said he brings a “motor” to whatever team drafts him.

“Young guy coming in, fresh legs,” he said. “I feel like I can bring energy. I can pass and I can score. I can be a great teammate if I’m not on the floor.”

Simmons and Beasley got some face time on Wednesday night.

“It’s a blessing,” Simmons said. “We pretty much looked back on where we came from. Young guys playing for the same high school team, playing for the same AAU team when we were younger as well, all the way down to since we were nine. It’s just a blessing. I come in the Nuggets locker room and see his name on the locker. It’s just crazy to think of it; we’re both about to be in the same position. And we’ve got one more on the way as well, Kaiser Gates at Xavier. All it is, is God’s plan. I’m proud as ever for Malik. He’s come a long way – more than people think.”

Simmons detailed it.

“People don’t know his journey,” Simmons said. “In 10th grade (Beasley) wasn’t known. He was only known in the local area by our school. But he worked. The next year he was a different Malik. He got bigger, he was doing three or four workouts a day, but still getting his rest and eating right. He came back bigger, stronger, more explosive as you guys can see now. He definitely had a journey. He definitely had a complete mindset that changed. Two years later, he was a rookie in the NBA and started a couple of games for the Denver Nuggets.”

Christopher Dempsey: or Twitter: @chrisadempsey

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