It was just nine months ago when former five-star recruit Simisola Shittu announced that he will have ACL surgery for his torn ACL.
Fast forward nine months later, many will ask and assume that it might’ve never happened. That’s how good Simisola Shittu has looked in Vanderbilt’s first three games of the season. Yes, it’s been three games but he just looks so dang good.
“The other night at the postgame presser I also noticed how big and broad his frame actually is,” said Chad Bishop, Vandy’s 247Sports analyst.
In the first three games for the Commodores, Shittu’s averaging 17.3PPG & 10.3RPG. He’s also shooting 57% from the field. He also leads the SEC in rebounding with 10.3 rebounds per game.
Besides his dominance on the offensive end, he’s been spectacular on the defensive end. Currently averaging over 2.5 blocks per game, Shittu also has one of the best defensive box plus-minus ratings in the country. It’s evident that Shittu’s offensive game is outstanding but his defense cannot go unnoticed.
In Vandy’s win over Alcorn State in the team’s third game of the season, Shittu shot 9-11 from the field. He didn’t record a double-double, unlike the first two games when he did but was great on the offensive end.
One game that will go unnoticed this season, Shittu’s game on the road against USC. Mid-way first half Shittu already had 8 boards. He was so dominant on the offensive end putting up a handful of offensive rebounds and being able to give the Commodores many extra chances which were huge as Vandy snuck away with a win.
It goes to show, even for his frame Shittu still has the ability to run the floor and blow by defenders and even draw contact. But the most impressive part about his ability to run the floor and draw contact, he finishes, and it doesn’t matter how many defenders are standing there.
One play that stood out was at the 1:35 mark, after a tipped ball on defense by Vandy, Shittu grabs it and blows by one guy then goes coast to coast over another. “He looked like an NFL running back on that one,” said the commentator.
At the end of that first half, he was shooting 4-8 from the field with 9 points but grabbed 10 boards in the first 20 minutes. His final stat line, 14P-15R-3STLS-3AST. Yes, Shittu is currently one of the top rebounders in the country and I don’t believe this USC game will be the only time we see him grab more rebounds than points recorded.
In Vandy’s highly anticipated opening game against Winthrop, it took the Commodores till the 18:53 mark to record the first bucket for the season. How they scored? Simi Shittu gets in the way of a Winthrop pass and fights contact and BOOM! one-handed slam.
After being down 22-17 midway through the first half it was strong play from Shittu and the Commodores that erased that lead. In this game, it was more of Simi’s scoring that was effective.
We saw multiple instances where Shittu would grab a defensive rebound and the rest of the floor was his. At the 1:17 mark in this video you can see that he grabs the defensive rebound and holds on for a few seconds then runs down the floor and makes the one-handed fadeaway over two defenders (while fighting off contact).
““I’m not really focused on the draft right now. I’m focused on making history here first.” – Simi Shittu
Those were the words from Shittu after Vandy’s Pro Day. At that pro day, 54 scouts from 29 different team’s were left impressed. Look for more this season from Shittu including tomorrow night on ESPN where Vandy will face Liberty