When asked the difference between Canada and Florida, 2018 prospect Simi Shittu gave a very lighthearted answer.
“The weather,” Shittu said. “I haven’t seen snow since last year, so it’s a positive difference.”
While the climate is a major difference, it’s definitely not the greatest one. The 6-foot-8 Canadian forward made the choice to leave everything he’s ever known in Canada to play at Montverde Academy in Florida, one of the top high school basketball programs in the country.
Playing since he was five years old, Shittu’s goal is to use basketball as a way to eventually provide for his family. After seeing how hard they worked while he was growing up, Shittu knew he had to return the favor. Transferring to Montverde was a step in the right direction towards accomplishing this goal.
Since the transfer, Shittu has developed into a more diverse player by being able to guard at multiple positions. A lot of improvements can be accredited to his new coach, Kevin Boyle, especially how hard he plays.
“It’s different, he’s really on you all the time.” Shittu said in regards to playing for Boyle, “He expects the most from you and the best from you. He just wants every practice at a high level, so he makes every practice like a game.”
These improvements have carried over to the Nike EYBL, where Shittu plays for the Canadian team, CIA Bounce. When asked what it’s like playing for his country’s team Shittu spoke about Bounce’s lineage of talent,
“It gives you a sense of pride,” Shittu said. “Because we have a lot of history in the EYBL.”
Photo credit: Andrew Slater (247 Sports)
A lot of history, indeed, with CIA Bounce having notable alumni such as Andrew Wiggins and Tyler Ennis making a path for the CIA Bounce team that Shittu plans to continue.
Through seven games, Shittu has put up some eye-opening numbers, averaging 16.6 points and 7.1 rebounds while shooting 59.0% from the floor. He’s made a few highlights as well, throwing down a vicious poster in Bounce’s final game in Indianapolis.
At the beginning of the EYBL season, Shittu and his team were struggling to win games, but quickly were able to adjust due to the fact that most of them have been playing together since they were in 7th or 8th grade. Shittu recognizes his strengths in passing and handling the ball, but also recognizes he needs to improve on a more consistent jump shot so he can be more dangerous offensively.
While Shittu has specific goals for his play, he also has one main goal for his team, summed up in a simple sentence.
“To make it to Peach Jam,” Shittu stated. “And take it from there.”