December 13, 1987 |
The corner of Philadelphia that covets Big 5 basketball has been so besieged by the fuss over Temple's Mark Macon that it seems that another rather talented young guy has been playing in the dark so far this season. Remember Lionel Simmons of La Salle? You know, the silky 6-foot-6 sophomore who merely goes out every game and bangs in double figures in scoring and hauls down double figures in rebounds? The former South Philadelphia High star crashed onto the scene last year and averaged 20.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
January 4, 1988 |
For La Salle's Lionel Simmons, it was all set up for a big prime-time splash. He had the kind of national stage ESPN offers; he had a big-name opponent. He had a boisterous, sellout Palestra crowd on hand. But Simmons was just a little off-rhythm, La Salle got whomped on the boards, and the upset the Explorers were close enough to taste vanished under the TV lights. So Notre Dame (7-2) walked away, behind a monstrous 42-19 rebound advantage, with a 68-59 victory over La Salle (8-5)
July 15, 1987 |
When Lionel Simmons tried and failed in May to make the U.S. basketball team for the Pan-American Games, it gave him extra incentive to make the U.S. squad for the World Junior Games. "I was determined to play well," Simmons said. And he did. La Salle's 6-foot-6 sophomore-to-be was one of 12 players named to the team Sunday by coach Larry Brown. He will leave tomorrow for Italy to prepare for the first game of the championships on July 23 in Bormio, Italy. "I wanted to impress Coach Brown as much as I could," Simmons said yesterday in a telephone interview from Lawrence, Kan. "Coach Brown spoke a lot about being unselfish, so I tried to be unselfish and play well when I was in the post.
August 30, 1990 |
If you're tired of watching the Phils toil toward yet another subpar season, don't despair. Tonight you can turn off the tube and head down to Temple University's McGonigle Hall, where you can turn on to the 30th annual Baker League championship. The game, which pits the Jerome "Pooh" Richardson-led Carolina Rice team against the Lionel "L-Train" Simmons-led Ishkabibble's Eatery squad, will begin at 7:15. Admission is free, and the place is air conditioned, but that doesn't mean the action won't be hot on the court.
November 22, 1988 |
When Lionel Simmons scored the first layup of the 1988-89 La Salle basketball season 14 seconds into a game against a Yugoslavian club team, the 1,100 fans at Heyman Hall applauded more in relief than ecstasy. Simmons, a 6-foot, 6-inch junior, is being mentioned as an All-America candidate this year. His coach, Speedy Morris, says Simmons "is one of the top 10 players in the country, definitely. " He is the centerfold of a league that doesn't have another pinup boy. An argument can be started over who is the best player in the Big 5, Simmons or Temple's Mark Macon.
March 11, 1988 |
For Lionel Simmons, nervousness is not speaking to a gaggle of print reporters or into a thicket of microphones after scoring, say, 25 points and grabbing 15 rebounds for La Salle University's NCAA Tournament-bound basketball team. It's returning to Southern High, as he did yesterday, for a ceremony retiring his old No. 22 jersey, and having to speak to the students. "The press is easy to talk to compared to this," Simmons said with a laugh. "I was nervous at first, but then I did all right.
December 26, 1987 |
Although La Salle's Lionel Simmons is only a sophomore, he already has made a name for himself from coast to coast. And beyond. Simmons had 26 points and 14 rebounds yesterday as the Explorers held off a late Dayton rally to register a 69-66 victory in the Chaminade Classic. The Explorers, who finished 2-1 in the round-robin tournament, scored 10 straight points late in the first half, breaking a 19-19 tie on their way to a 29-21 lead at intermission. La Salle shot 27.3 percent (12-for-44)
April 10, 1991 |
When Kareem "Rab" Townes followed the final season of Lionel Simmons' La Salle University basketball career in 1989-90, he did more than keep his eyes on the court. He watched how the coaches treated Simmons as a person. Also, he watched how the coaches made Simmons' mother, Ruth, feel equally as important as her son. "I thought a lot about Lionel and his mom, how nice the La Salle people were to them," Townes said. "I pictured the same things maybe happening for me, and them treating my mom (Minnie)
January 22, 1998 |
Retired at 29. Single. No responsibilities. All the money he'll ever need. All Lionel Simmons has to do now is live the rest of his life. For the first time since he was a kid, his life does not include basketball. The game is still there for him. Still has an allure. He's got a first-row baseline seat at the Sixers games. Watches as many NBA games as he can. But there are no more practices, no more games. Last Friday night, over dinner at the Italian Bistro, a few blocks from City Hall, Simmons, voted the best player in Big 5 history in a 1995 Daily News poll, talked about what's next.
December 31, 1992 |
Mrs. Klein is going to Washington. Simmons Elementary School Principal Rita M. Klein will trek to the nation's capital in March to meet with the new secretary of education, and perhaps even the new president, when she accepts a national award recognizing the Horsham school as one of the best in the country. Simmons, the largest of the Hatboro-Horsham School District's five elementary schools with 640 students, found out last week that it was one of seven elementary schools in the state and 228 in the country to receive the National Elementary School Recognition Award.