The following appears in the May issue of Orange: The Experience. Written first person by Aamir Simms.
Thank you for the last four years of my life, dedicated to taking in a boy and allowing me to leave a man. The time has unfortunately come for me to say my farewell to the best university God’s country has to offer. My four years at Clemson have been nothing short of exciting and full of opportunities. It seems like yesterday I was arriving on June 4, 2017, someone eager and nervous to leave a lasting impression on a University that has seen many great leaders and ambassadors come through the same doors and walk the same halls I now have. In my first year I was simply trying to find my niche and make an impact on a team full of experienced players who wanted to make the most of their last year. From my first basket against Western Carolina, I knew something special was brewing in Littlejohn. Clemson has supported me from my very first step on campus, and for that, I thank you. The culture, family environment, student interactions, and fan support will always be very important to me, and I will never forget where my second home is.
It was my dream in high school to call a place home that would elevate me not only as a person but as an athlete and scholar as well. Clemson has provided me with top-tier education and facilities throughout my time here, and time after time, I steadily saw improvements in all three areas. With the help of my academic advisors and academic coaches, I intend to graduate this May with my bachelor’s degree in sports communication while minoring in nonprofit leadership. The last three years, Nieri’s academic center for student-athletes has allowed me to be named to the ACC’s All-Academic team three times while being able to serve as the recipient of the Skip Prosser Award, graduating with a 3.2 GPA, and because of that, I thank you.
Coming in as a freshman I knew of the program’s historic past, from the likes of Tree Rollins and Horace Grant to Terrell McIntyre and K.J. McDaniels, I simply was chasing for that same greatness and status those greats left the program with. Making an impact as a young cat among grown men was my goal, and I think I did just that, partaking a role in our run to the Sweet 16 in the 2018 NCAA Tournament. I have experienced the highs and lows of being a college athlete, and I would not argue about the times we have reached the mountaintop in beating North Carolina for the first time in school history in their building and beating Duke right after that for the first time in years, as well as going to two NCAA Tournaments in four years. I have also experienced the bottom in failing to return to the NCAA Tournament during my sophomore year with a lot of potential coming back. All this to say that life is full of lessons, and they come in many forms. I am grateful for having the opportunity to play in front of the best fans within the best conference (ACC) in the world. Thank you to my teammates from over the last 1,460 days for making me a better person, teammate and leader. Thank you to my coaches for believing in me no matter the outcome or how I performed.
I would like to personally thank Coach Brownell for giving me the chance to take my game and career to the next level, providing me with state-of-the-art facilities and opportunities to showcase my talent to the world. That will never be forgotten. Also, to Coach Dean, Coach Smith, Coach Bender and Coach Goins for pushing me to my limits in order to be the best player I could be.
I would like to thank Leslie Moreland-Bishop for challenging me year in and year out to be the best scholar-athlete I could be while chasing my professional goals and helping me understand the importance of education and putting me in a position to affect those around and after me for generations to come.
I lastly want to thank President Jim Clements and Athletic Director Dan Radakovich for allowing me to leave a lasting impression on this University’s athletic division and school for years to come. The facilities and atmosphere here are like no other, and I am beyond grateful for the chance you two have given me to make the most of my time here.
Thank you, Clemson, for giving me a place I can call home. Thank you for accepting me into your bundle of joy with open arms. Thank you for the great times, the laughs and the cries. A wise man once said, “The best is yet to come,” and I truly believe that more than ever. I am proud to be a Clemson Tiger for life. I made a difference in my time here, and I am forever grateful. Go Tigers!
“Good friends never say goodbye. They say, ‘See you soon.’”– Kamal Yadav
Aamir Simms, #25