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.
New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.
The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.
UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.
In a report from Tampabay.com’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.
If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.