Since kindergarten, M.J. Simmons has been a fixture on the basketball courts in Unionville. After elementary school, Simmons was a part of the Community Middle School team for three …
Since kindergarten, M.J. Simmons has been a fixture on the basketball courts in Unionville.
After elementary school, Simmons was a part of the Community Middle School team for three years.
She started every game during a four-year high school career for the Community Viqueens and led her team to two consecutive District 7-AA and Region 4-AA championships, including a spot in the TSSAA Class 2-A state tournament this past season as a senior.
Along the way, Simmons amassed 2,067 points and became the second player in school history to eclipse the 2,000-point plateau for the Purple and Gold.
She is the All-Time leader in points per game in Community Viqueen basketball history with an average of 17.1 PPG.
Simmons also was named to the 2023 Tennessee Sports Writers Association All-State Girls Basketball Team for Class 2A.
Simmons received several offers to prolong her basketball career in the college ranks and in the end, she decided to continue her playing days with the Purple and Gold.
This time, it’s with the Purple and Gold of Bethel University.
Surrounded by family, friends, and teammates, Simmons recently inked the paper to play for the Bethel Lady Wildcats.
It was a tough decision to decide on which school to attend, but Simmons felt a peace about attending Bethel.
“It took a lot of prayer and consideration. It was a very stressful time for sure,” Simmons said.
“Overall, Bethel just felt like where I need to be. After I went in and did an official visit, I was able to go play with the team and meet everybody and see the campus,” Simmons added.
“It just felt right.”
Simmons is ready for the adjustment to college basketball and being a part of a new team.
“It’s college ball. So it will definitely be at another level,” Simmons said.
“Nothing could compare to my Viqueen family,” Simmons added. “But I do expect to build another family at Bethel and compete and play hard against each other.”
“We’ll grow and hopefully win some championships. That’s always the goal,” Simmons said.
Simmons is the first Community Viqueen player to sign a college basketball scholarship under fifth-year coach Cody Pierce.
Pierce had high praise for Simmons.
“She’s been the leader of this program for four years,” Pierce said.
“It’s cool to see her go play at the next level and continue that leadership and continue her next steps toward life.”
“She always worked hard. She definitely deserves this,” Pierce added.
Pierce has seen the positive effect Simmons has toward younger players.
“She loves teaching kids. She actually helps me with an AAU team,” Pierce said. “She does a great job.”
“She knows the game and has a really high IQ. It would be cool to see her one day get into coaching. I think she’d be great at it,” Pierce added.
Simmons plans to follow along the lines that Pierce mentioned with her college major.
“I’m going to major in education. I’m going to be a teacher, but I don’t know what grade yet,” Simmons said.
“I’m going to also coach. I’ve enjoyed helping Cody with the summer teams. I’ve loved it,” Simmons added.
Bethel University is located in McKenzie.
The Lady Wildcats play in the NAIA division and in the Mid-South Conference, which includes schools from Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio.
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