NBA Draft '19: Simi Shittu Season Preview
Photo courtesy of Gregory Payan / AP
Oluwasimisola "Simi" Shittu is an undersized big who will likely dominate the college basketball scene this coming November. Shittu joins Darius Garland (one of the top guards in the 2018 recruiting class) on Vanderbilt, as the team will make a run for the SEC Championship (and maybe even a deep run in the NCAA tournament as well) this season. Shittu is a 6-foot-9 freshman who should help the Commodores on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, Shittu can score by getting to the rim and taking advantage of weaker opponents in the post. Shittu has the ability to pass the ball with ease, and though he doesn't display it often, has a quick first step. Shittu has shown touch when finishing close but certainly could use some work in that area. He isn't Dwight Howard, either. Shittu has shown the willingness to pass out of the post to guards or wings, thus creating more chances by not stalling the offense. A lot of bigs struggle with this, especially elite prospects (like DeAndre Ayton in 2017-18). Defensively, Shittu shows potential to be a Jaren Jackson-esque player. He can switch onto some wings with ease as well as anticipate passing lanes to generate steals.
At the Nike EBYL in 2017, Shittu averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds. This accomplishment is amplified when you consider the number of elite players that cycle in and out of that camp, including Cameron Reddish, Jalen Smith, Darius Bazley, Shareef O'Neal, teammate Darius Garland, and 2018 2nd overall pick Marvin Bagley. Quite a feat, to say the least.
Shittu is going to have an interesting season. It is impossible to tell whether he becomes a shot-blocker, versatile offensive player, or even a combo-forward. There are many different ways Shittu could mold as a player. Vanderbilt coach Bryce Drew holds the keys.
Shittu's ceiling would have to be a top-five pick. High upside forwards and centers like Mo Bamba and Jaren Jackson have been going higher in the draft in recent memory. Shittu falls into this category. His floor would have to be in the early second round. I just cannot see a player with as much potential as Shittu falling late into the draft. Someone is bound to take a chance on him. We've often seen high-upside players reached for in the past. This is going to be a very compelling season for Simi Shittu and Vanderbilt.