He’s a Swiss Army Knife: Who are you Bnei Herzliya forward Justin Simon?

Jul 24, 2023 | Holyland Hoops

Justin Simon recently signed with Bnei Herzliya and became the first new import signing for the club for the upcoming 2023/24 season. The 27-year old forward joins new head coach Dan Shamir’s squad after playing in Italy and Australia last season.

The California native split his college career between Arizona and St. John’s and was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2019 with the Red Storm where he averaged 10.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists to go along with 1.5 steals per game in his final college campaign before declaring for the NBA Draft.

Having made stops in the G-League, Germany and Australia as well as Italy for the tail end of last season, Simon helped the Sydney Kings win the league title and having averaged 10.6 points, 5 boards and 1.5 steals. Over the past number of years, Simon was named both the German and Australian league defender of the season.

“Justin is a leader, winner, tough and a defensive player of the highest levels where he has shown his abilities in every team that he had played with to date” sports director Zufer Avdija said.

Dan Shamir also spoke about his new recruit, “Justin is a player who has won the Australian league and also helped his team advance to the Basketball Champions League Final Four. He is an extraordinary defensive player and can play a number of offensive positions while always bringing plenty of energy.”

To find out more about Justin Simon, The Sports Rabbi was in touch with a number of his former teammates:

Former Israeli League and Arizona teammate Mark Tollefsen: He’s a great teammate, easily likeable guy! Player wise he’s a Swiss Army knife and he can defend multiple positions, he can make plays and he’s ultra competitive. He’s a winner. Herzliya got a good one!

St. John’s Teammates:
Amar Alibegovic: High energy player, always giving 110% on the court. Great defensive and offensive awareness. Very athletic and looking to make winning plays. One of the best defenders I’ve played with. Very positive and great locker room guy.

Tariq Owens: Great guy amazing teammate and crazy court presence. He’s a big play maker. You guys got a hell of a player.

G-League Teammates:
Ferrakohn Hall: Justin was a great teammate, he brought great energy and wanted the best for his team just as he wanted the best for himself. He’s a great defender and has a high basketball IQ, at the time it maybe was a surprise how well he understood the game but now it’s definitely not. Super confident, had a weird shot but it went down. When we first got to the team in the G League we did a shooting contest, I said no way he’ll do it but he said his skills brought him to here, and he scored 50 percent. He looked at me as a big brother and sometimes he came for advice.

TreDarius McCallum: He’s a hell of a player, he does everything and he’s a monster of a defender. Justin is a great teammate very professional and is a winner. He will give the need energy when needed and will be a huge piece to their success .

Darel Poirier: Very energetic guy, almost a nightmare when he plays defense. Cool guy.

Thomas Wilder: Great Player but an even better person.

Jaron Blossomgame: He’s an incredible person, first and foremost he’s a great guy to have on your team, he’s coachable, he wants to win, does the right things to win and is not selfish at all. Really-really good personality and I think that shows in the way he plays, he’s a very energetic guy. I like to call him the Swiss Army Knife of every team he’s been on, because he’s versatile enough to do multiple things, you can put him in any position and he’ll find the way to be successful. He can be your point forward, 2, 3 or 4 and he can guard all of the positions at a high level so I think he’s going to do very-very well. He actually called me the other day to pick my brain on the Israeli league and the adjustment that I made playing there a few years ago, and we kind of bounced ideas off of each over.

He’s very excited to come there and make an immediate impact and I think that will be very evident when people are able to see him in the first game. He’s one of those guys where the things He does are a lot bigger than the stat sheet. If you watch the game in person you’ll see he’s getting deflections, steals and blocked shots, things that translate to better offense and good offense for your team. He’s definitely very-very excited to get there, I’m excited to watch him play this year and I think he’ll do really-really good things for them.

Hawks Teammates:
Cameron Bairstow: Justin is a great guy and teammate. Always willing to sacrifice for the good of the team and does whatever the team needs to win. He’s an elite athlete who excels in the open court and loves the challenge of guarding the other teams best player for 40 minutes!

Daniel Grida: Justin was one of the best teammates I’ve ever had! Gave so much energy on the defensive end but also on the break. Was so passionate and so much fun too play with. Justin was always down too do activities with the team and fit in seamlessly with the players and coaching staff. Bnei Herzliya should be super excited to have him!

Ludwigsburg Teammates:
Lukas Herzog: He’s very athletic on both sides of the floor and has a very high energy to play with. His ability on defense is very good and also his rebounding and finishing around the rim. I would say he can improve his shooting. His personality is amazing, he’s one of the funniest teammates that I have played with. Always good for jokes and always happy and in a good mood.

James Woodard: Justin is a great player and a even better person. He’s a winner and plays both offense and defense with intensity. I wish him the best in Bnei Herzliya

Kings teammate Kouat Noi: Justin Simon is one of the nicest person I’ve had the chance to meet, always has positive energy and true competitor.

Verona Teammates:
Giordano Bortolani: He seems like a humble guy. Very funny.

Karvel Anderson: I have nothing but positive things to say about Justin. We only had a short time together but he was a great teammate, a very hard worker, and a good locker room guy! I would want someone like him on any team that I’m a part of! I know he’s going to have great season in Israel!

Xavier Johnson: He is a great person. Energetic player and fun to be around. Great for a team.

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