Meet Diamon Simpson, Quimsa's high-energy weapon in BCL Americas
MIAMI (United States) - There's no doubt that Argentine hoops club Quimsa is led by Basketball Champions League Americas Most Valuable Player Brandon Robinson. However, the importance of frontcourt star Diamon Simpson to the organization’s success should not be understated or underestimated ahead of this Saturday's FIBA Intercontinental Cup vs. Spain's San Pablo Burgos.
Simpson, who is essentially one of the Robin's to Robinson's Batman, played a pivotal role in Quimsa's 2020 BCL Americas run and stands to hold a critical part of the team's future. The 6ft7in (2m) forward/center averaged an absurd 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in 18.2 minutes in BCL Americas play despite playing in just two games. The big man had a 17-point outing on 8-of-9 shooting in the final against Flamengo to follow up a 14 and seven evening in the semifinals.
Simpson's story didn't just begin at Quimsa, though, as the Los Angeles, California native is Saint Mary's College's all-time leading rebounder and third-leading shot blocker following his four-year career (2005-2009). He was a three-time first-team All-WCC performer while playing with current NBA point guard Patty Mills. His efficiency around the rim, strong tactics on the defensive end of the floor and leadership helped him transition to a deal at the NBA D-League level.
With the Los Angeles D-Fenders – now called the South Bay Lakers and developmental team of the Los Angeles Lakers -- Simpson once again made his impact felt with his inside scoring, rebounding and interior defense as he nearly averaged a double-double in 30 games.
While the forward never officially reached the NBA level, he was bought out of his D-League contract by the Alaska Aces of the Philippine Basketball Association in 2010. Simpson immediately influenced the Aces' roster by dropping 36 points and 25 rebounds and leading the squad to a championship over 18-time winners San Miguel Beerman.
Following his departure from the PBA, Simpson spent the next 10 years playing for 13 different teams, including a stint with Maccabi Tel Aviv in the EuroLeague. He also had two more follow-up campaigns with the Aces before transitioning to the Quimsa roster.
While Robinson provides the heavy lift of scoring for the Argentine squad, Simpson's motor and knack for finding the right spot on the floor on both ends makes everyone around him better. He does all the little things that help winning. Most importantly, his defensive IQ and rim protection allow his fellow teammates to gamble more on the perimeter, and his ability to close out possessions with rebounds allow for more transition opportunities with the opposing defense not set.
Simpson is undersized and is not a high-caliber athlete, but his instincts and hustle fit the international game and Quimsa's roster perfectly.
On Saturday, Simpson’s presence will be especially important as Quimsa looks to continue their marvelous run following last year’s crown as South America’s top team. San Pablo Burgos features two players standing at 6ft 9in (2.1m) and another (Goran Huskic) who is 6ft 11in (2.1m).
It doesn't stop there for the big man, though. With the BCL Americas' new campaign tipping things off this past month, Simpson has been the team's top scorer in their first two games vs. U. De Concepcion and Sao Paulo. His consistency only puts less pressure on the MVP Robinson, and continues the balance that makes Quimsa so dangerous. The one-two punch created inside with 30-year-old Fabian Ramirez, who is also one of the team's top talents, creates a huge mismatch for opponents.
Overall, if there's one player to keep a close eye on as South America's finest faces Europe's finest, it's the high-energy, high-IQ former West Coast Conference college basketball star that has captured the attention of many Argentine hoops fans.
The double glory Quimsa achieved back in 2009 isn't in play just yet for the club, but with players like Simpson complementing Robinson, Ramirez and Nicolas Copello, the unit could be headed for another special year starting with Saturday's duel.