Deandre Simpson has to be one of the most elusive players in Cayman flag football.
Not only blessed with an impressive turn of pace, he has a deadly accurate eye for catching the ball through his extensive basketball experience, then makes piercing runs, eluding opponents with ease.
This is only Simpson’s second year playing flag seriously and this season he joined the Maples Dolphins, who last term lost all their games.
Simpson gets great satisfaction from upsetting big teams, which with his help the Dolphins have done and even made it to next week’s playoffs.
As well as playing wide receiver or tight end on offense, Simpson is a corner or linebacker on defense. Simpson shares most of the running duties with Larue Nixon, Kwei General and Fabio Gall when received from quarterback Chris LeBeau.
From watching the Dolphins last year, Simpson felt that they had a lot of potential and he wanted to grow with the team. It’s certainly worked. They won three matches, tied one and lost seven in their 12 regular season games this term. In the playoffs, Simpson “expects us to surprise some teams and catch them off guard.”
He did track from a very young age, moved into football and then in his mid-teens picked up basketball and became pretty good at it.
“It basically put me through university as I earned a scholarship for playing basketball,” said the 25-year-old Caymanian who works in the hotel industry.
He would like to see more than the five men’s and seven women’s flag teams that play every Saturday afternoon at West Bay’s Ed Bush stadium, but for now it’s OK.
“I would also love to see more indoor basketball courts that are available for public use and the local sports scene can be improved by having more supporters and fans come and watch.”
When the flag season ends, Simpson will either be playing in the basketball Corporate League or the Division 3 league.
He used to play for the Sol Blazers basketball team in the Division 1 league. They won the league three years in a row but lost in the finals last season.
“When I played flag last year with the Predators I was constantly on the sideline watching and wasn’t used much. “The Predators have a lot of size but they’re very beatable. The team I respect the most are the Kensington Hellcats. They are very tough opponents. That’s another reason that I went to Maples Dolphins.”
When he joined the Dolphins, Simpson teamed up with LeBeau and there was an automatic connection from playing basketball together years earlier.
In flag, Simpson feels he is in his element. “Throw the ball up and I’ll get it. There is no one in this flag league that can jump with me to get the ball.
“Like, come on, I don’t mean to boast but I’m 6-ft 5-ins with a long wingspan and a crazy 35-inch vertical jumping ability. The only other players I can think of who can match me are Kwei General and Larue Nixon who are both my teammates.