Grad Student Basketballers

bballWith recent standout careers as undergraduates at Pac-12 schools—Stanford University and University of Washington—Aaron Bright and Desmond Simmons will join the Saint Mary’s men’s basketball program in the fall looking for one more opportunity to show their skills on the hardwood.

At the same time, they’ll come to Moraga to take the next step towards building a life away from basketball.

Bright, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Bellevue, Wash., comes to Saint Mary’s after a career at Stanford that saw him win Most Outstanding Player honors at the 2012 National Invitation Tournament. A highly touted floor general, Bright will try to fill the void created by the graduation of Stephen Holt, who is now plying his trade professionally.

Simmons is a 6-foot-7, 225-pound forward from Vallejo, Calif. who twice earned Washington’s scholar-athlete and top hustler awards. His return also represents a homecoming for the Salesian High-Richmond product, as Simmons returns to the region that saw him evolve into one of the top prep players in the Bay Area.

As they work toward success on the court, both Bright and Simmons will begin work toward a master’s degree in Leadership, a program that played a big role in both choosing to come to Moraga. That they’re each pursuing a post-graduate education in that venue is fitting, considering the hallmark of Saint Mary’s basketball over the last decade-plus has been its ability to produce and rely on outstanding leaders.

Bright and Simmons are two big pieces to a puzzle that could come together quickly for the newest crop of Gaels. With 2013-14 All-West Coast Conference first team selection Brad Waldow returning to lead the way in the post, the future is full of optimism for head coach Randy Bennett’s squad.

For more information on Bright, Simmons and the rest of the 2014-15 Gaels and to purchase tickets for the upcoming season, visit