Patience pays off for Simmers [Basketball]
For the first two seasons at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Anna Simmers of Anchorage barely played.
Finally, as a junior, she got her shot.
Simmers, of ACS fame, became a starter for Army and led the Patriot League in scoring at 14.8 per game en route to earning all-conference first team honors.
She’s come a long way since playing in just 14 games over her first seasons on campus.
“Being a benchie sucks. I’m not gonna lie,” Simmers told me. “It’s hard to sacrifice so much time and the only playing time you get is as the scout team during practices. It was very difficult.”
Simmers was a 2-time Class 3A Player of the Year in Alaska and expected to contribute at Army. But it didn’t happen. She seldom got off the bench.
“I wouldn’t say I doubted myself,” she said. “I just was scared that I would never get a chance to prove what I could do.”
The 5-foot-9 shooting guard got stronger throughout the season, bumping her scoring average to 18.9 in 14 league games. Seven times she eclipsed 20 points, highlighted by her career-high 27 in a 67-64 win over Bucknell.
Led by Simmers, Army finished 14-16 overall, 8-6 in the Patriot League.
“We had a lot of players step up and surprise everyone. We had only two girls coming back who had gotten any kind of real playing time last year,” Simmers said. “We were picked seventh but we ended up shocking everyone and finishing fourth.”
Why did you choose the Military Academy?
“I want a job that I feel matters. Also, you get paid to go here and have a job right after graduation, so my parents don’t have to worry about me anymore.”
What does it mean to be a cadet?
“It means a lot of work, pressure and responsibility and very little free time … but I’m extremely proud to be one.”
How tough is it and please don’t be modest?
“I’ve never been accused of being modest [laughs]. It is extremely difficult. Balancing the demand of physical, academic, military, personal and basketball is incredibly hard.”
Please talk about majoring in Arabic and how you decided that?
“I want to be a foreign area officer eventually. I figured if I know one of the most difficult languages for an English speaker to learn, then I could pick up any language. I have fallen in love with it now. It’s a lot of fun to learn.”
How will you use your Arabic degree?
“After I get out I want to work in an embassy. I’m learning more toward branching signal right now. And I want to go wherever I can be of use.”