Scheels Athlete of the Week: Stronger Sims a Presence in the Paint for West High

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Jeff Yoder Photo / iagameday.smugmug.com

By Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – Seybian Sims heard it from everyone last season.

Coaches, teammates and friends all had the same assessment of the West High forward.

“Last year I had a problem with being really soft around the rim,” Sims explained. “A lot of people, coaches and players told me that I was really soft last year.”

Sims didn’t just hear the critique on his game last season he listened to it.

Then he tried to fix it.

They are trying to help me so I don’t really take it personal, if someone says I am doing something bad I’m going to try to work on it and prove them wrong,” Sims said. “So this year if I get the ball around the rim I am going to try to finish.”

Six games into his senior season the 6-foot-7 Sims has gone from being perceived as soft to a rock solid performer for the top-ranked team in Class 4A.

Sims is averaging 16.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game this season while helping top-ranked West High to a 6-0 start.

“Last year it never really fully clicked, he was great at times but then also not so good at times,” West High junior Patrick McCaffery said. “This year he’s on, he figured it out. He blocks everything, rebounds everything, finishes everything. He’s been a really, really valuable piece and I know we aren’t 6-0 without Seybian.”

In his first season as a starter last season Sims averaged a respectable 6.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game as West High won the 4A state title.

During the offseason Sims worked on getting bigger, strong and tougher.

So far that work has paid off.

Sims is shooting a stagger 76 percent from the floor and has already eclipsed his season total for blocked shots from a year ago, swatting 20 shots in six games.

“He’s stronger, he understands what we are trying to do,” West High coach Steve Bergman said. “He’s capable of playing more on the perimeter but he really understands where to get his baskets right now.”

Sims is coming off the best week of his career.

He followed up a 16-point, eight-rebound showing against cross-town rival City High with the best game of his career to date.

Sims had 28 points on 12-of-13 shooting, had 11 rebounds and five blocks in an 81-65 win over Bolingbrook, Illinois on Saturday.

“For high school I want to say that was one of my better games,” Sims said. “We had a lot of assists and a lot of those were towards me. They tried to press us and our guards tore it up.”

Sims improvement has been widespread.

He has 18 assists and 13 turnovers this season, has become one of the top shot blockers in 4A and doubled his rebounding average from last season.

“He and Patrick are getting after it on the boards,” Bergman said. “The had 12 against DeLeSalle and 11 against Bolingbrook and that wasn’t happening a year ago and then when we help properly he is a difference maker on defense.”