Washington junior forward Desmond Simmons sent a tweet Friday night saying he’s leaving Washington.
Appreciate all the support I've received over the last four years while being a Husky. I'm very… http://t.co/XN2LZdaMPJ
— Desmond Simmons (@30dezz) March 29, 2014
On his Instagram account he wrote: “Appreciate all the support I’ve received over the last four years while being a Husky. I’m very grateful for my experience. Thanks for all the love dawg fans.”
The Huskies have not made a formal announcement. However, a school official confirmed Simmons will transfer to another school.
Simmons, a 6-7 forward, spent the past four years at Washington where he was a part-time starter who battled knee injuries.
The three-star recruit from Salesian High in Vallejo, Calif. redshirted the 2009-10 season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee during the offseason.
He averaged 4.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 17.8 minutes as a redshirt freshman while starting 11 of 35 games during the 2011-12 season.
As a sophomore, Simmons averaged 4.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 23.9 minutes while starting 14 of 34 games during the 2012-13 season.
Simmons missed the first 10 games this season due to arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. When he returned, he averaged 5.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 20.3 minutes while starting 10 of 22 games.
Simmons met with coach Lorenzo Romar this week and said he wanted to go to a place where he could have a larger role on the team. Simmons is expected to earn his degree and would be immediately eligible next season.
Simmons’ departure is a significant blow for a Washington team that finished 17-15, didn’t play in the postseason and lose senior starters C.J. Wilcox and Perris Blackwell. Simmons is the second player to leave Washington this season joining Hikeem Stewart, who transferred to Kentucky Wesleyan.
With or without Simmons, Washington had serious questions about its front line. However, his absence shines a bigger spotlight on the team’s most glaring weakness: a dearth of proven big men.
It’s uncertain if Robert Upshaw, a highly-touted 7-foot transfer from Fresno State, will remain with the team next season. He has been away from the Huskies the past couple of months due to unspecified reasons and Romar has been noncommittal about his return.
Shawn Kemp Jr., who averaged 4.4 points, 1.8 minutes and 15.4 minutes this season, is the most decorated returning big man. He started 10 of 31 games and scored in double figures in just four games.
The only other players currently on the roster taller than 6-6 include 6-10 sophomore forward Jernard Jarreau, who is recovering from a season-ending knee injury, and 7-foot sophomore center Gilles Dierickx, who averaged 0.2 points and 0.7 rebounds in 5.2 minutes.
The Huskies signed 6-11 Canadian forward Tristan Etienne, but he’s not expected to help them next season. Washington also signed Timberline High guard Donaven Dorsey and Indian Hills Community College (Iowa) guard Quevyn Winters is expected to sign with the Huskies when the regular-season signing period begins April 16.
If Upshaw remains, Washington is slated to have 12 scholarship players on the roster next season. Undoubtedly the Huskies will pursue a big man in this summer, most likely via transfer from a Division I school or junior college.