6-foot-8 forward Ben Simmons has been outstanding this month, with more than a few observers believing that the LSU commit has separated himself as the best prospect in the Class of 2015. Simmons, who attends Montverde Academy in Florida, is a native of Australia and this led to some asking a question about his future at the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, South Carolina.
Would Simmons consider playing professionally in his native Australia (or somewhere else overseas) in 2015, as opposed to attending LSU? Simmons delivered the answer to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, and it’s a response that will put a smile on the faces of LSU fans.
With Simmons reiterating his decision to head to Baton Rouge in 2015, the Tigers could potentially have a loaded front court when that season rolls around. Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey, who were SEC All-Freshman Team selections last season, would be juniors and head coach Johnny Jones also has options such as Brian Bridgewater (he had to sit out last season for academic reasons) and current incoming freshmen Elbert Robinson and Aaron Epps.
Even if LSU were to lose a Martin or Mickey to the professional ranks, they won’t lack for bodies (or talent) in the front court. Adding Simmons to the rotations will make the Tigers an even tougher team to defend in that area of the floor.
Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.
The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.
It wasn’t pretty.
And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.
Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.
The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.
But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.
Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: