Rutgers men’s basketball received more good news on the recruiting trail on Sunday, as 2022 point guard Derek Simpson committed to the program. He took an official visit to Piscataway from August 3-5 and ultimately decided to become a Scarlet Knight soon after.
The 6’3” floor general has had a tremendous summer playing AAU ball on the Adidas Gauntlet series for the South Jersey Titans, as well as for Lenape High School in Summer Leagues. With coaches finally being able to watch recruits play live in person, Simpson has taken advantage and his offer list has grown considerably. In the past month plus, Simpson received offers from Rutgers, Arizona State, St. Bonaventure, Northeastern, Albany and Delaware in addition to previous offers from St. Joseph’s, Old Dominion and Rider. His father, Ron Simpson, was an 1,000 point scorer for the Broncs in the late 80’s. Iowa and Providence have expressed interest as well, per 247 Sports.
Simpson is a shifty two-way point guard that has a great handle, can drive and kick, is a good passer, but can also get to the rim and finish under control in traffic. He is a good shooter that can create shots off the dribble and loves to pull up for a 15-17 foot jumper. Simpson is also a solid three-point shooter and a really good free throw shooter. He is excellent in transition, has good vision on the move and is extremely athletic. Simpson can explode at the rim and can finish with both hands.
The Star-Ledger named Simpson a Third Team All-State selection after this past season and said of the prospect:
“The owner of offers from St. Joseph’s, Rider and Old Dominion, Simpson cemented his spot as one of the premier guards in the state. In helping Lenape finish 10-4 overall and No. 14 in the statewide NJ.com Final Top 30, he averaged a team-leading 20.6 points, 4.9 assists and 2.1 steals to go along with 4.4 rebounds. Simpson capped a sensational year with a career-high 30 points, including the 1,000th of his career, in a victory over No. 10 Elizabeth in the season finale. Another player capable of attacking the rim or pulling up from the outside, Simpson proved to be the undisputed team leader and is ranked No. 13 in the state for the Class of 2022 by PrepHoops.”
While the Medford, New Jersey native is currently an unranked recruit, that will change once the rankings are updated by national services towards the end of the summer. Simpson hadn’t played live in front of college coaches or recruiting analysts in two years and took full advantage of the opportunity during the recent live periods.
At the Philly High School Live event at the end of June, Simpson led Lenape to a 2-1 record including a victory over Don Bosco Prep. In the lone loss to Lincoln (PA), he had a game high 34 points.
He also played well at the Adidas 3SSB Championships and Jersey Shore Jam Fest in July. Here are some highlights of Simpson in action.
With Geo Baker in his last season of eligibility and Paul Mulcahy now a junior, Rutgers needed to find a point guard to add depth to the backcourt along with true freshman Jalen Miller. Simpson is a creator who will need to develop physically to hold up in the rough and tumble Big Ten, but his athleticism, quickness and body control are elite.
Simpson joins three-star wing Braedon Moore as part of Rutgers’ 2022 recruiting class. Like Moore, Rutgers was the first high major to offer Simpson. Both commits are strong shooters and can score in multiple ways. Adding skill players on offense is an obvious priority after Rutgers has struggled shooting wise thus far in the Pikiell era. They both are considered leaders of their respective teams and appear to be good culture fits within the program.
Rutgers has one confirmed remaining open scholarship to fill with the 2022 recruiting class but will probably have at least one more spot open up due to Ron Harper Jr. unlikely to stay for a fifth season. Head coach Steve Pikiell discussed his recruiting philosophy and how he evaluates recruits on our latest podcast episode here.
You can view junior season highlights for Simpson here: