Ben Simmons

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 12:  Ben Simmons #25 of the LSU Tigers stands on the court after being charged with a technical foul in the game against the Texas A&M Aggies during the semifinals of the SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 12, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Report: Simmons slams NCAA in documentary

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Ben Simmons played just one season of college basketball, but it was enough for him to develop a strong opinion about the sport’s governing body.

“The NCAA is really (expletive) up,” Simmons, in documentary set to air this week, said, according to ESPN. “Everybody’s making money except the players. We’re the ones waking up early as hell to be the best teams and do everything they want us to do and then the players get nothing. They say education, but if I’m there for a year, I can’t get much education.”

The documentary, ‘One and Done,’ is set to air Friday evening on Showtime. In it, Simmons also claims to have been offered cars, jewelry, a house and “anything.” Simmons, who was drafted No. 1 overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in June after his one season at LSU, said that he had no plans on attending second-semester class after earning eligibility with his first-semester grades.

“The NCAA is messed up,” Simmons said. “I don’t have a voice. … I don’t get paid to do it. Don’t say I’m an amateur and make me take pictures and sign stuff and go make hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars off one person. … I’m going off on the NCAA. Just wait, just wait. I can be a voice for everybody in college. I’m here because I have to be here [at LSU]. … I can’t get a degree in two semesters, so it’s kind of pointless. I feel like I’m wasting time.”

Simmons’ sentiments are hardly new. The NCAA’s stance on amateurism has never been more tenuous with assaults on all sides regarding student-athlete compensation. There’s also been concerns about one-and-dones bailing on classes after winter break since the NBA instituted the age limit in 2006. And just about only James Naismith predates impermissible benefits.

Simmons, though, does provide candid thoughts on the matter from someone who lived in that world as a super-prospect. His case may be extreme, but it certainly shines a light on the value of college players beyond their scholarship.

The issue with Simmons being the messenger of such a position is that he went out of his way to play NCAA basketball. As an Australian, Simmons could have declared for the 2015 NBA draft, but instead came to the United States for his senior year of high school and then chose to remain stateside to play for the Tigers, rather than go to the D-league or foreign leagues.

Simmons chose to play college hoops, even though the ability to bypass the NCAA was more readily available to him than most players. That doesn’t mean his message about the NCAA and its restrictions on student-athletes doesn’t have merit or truth to it, but it’s probably going to make it more difficult for him to make that point.

When presented with multiple options of making money playing basketball or doing it for a scholarship at LSU, Simmons chose the scholarship and the marketing that comes with it. And that’s why his words sound a lot more like buyer’s remorse than anything, even if their substance rings true.

LSU coach: Tigers won’t play in any postseason tourneys

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 12:  Ben Simmons #25 of the LSU Tigers stands on the court after being charged with a technical foul in the game against the Texas A&M Aggies during the semifinals of the SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 12, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) LSU freshman Ben Simmons’ college career could be finished.

Coach Johnny Jones announced Sunday that the Tigers will not participate in a postseason tournament after being left out of the NCAA field.

The Tigers (19-14) finished in a tie for third place in the Southeastern Conference for the second straight year. They failed to play up to expectations created by the arrival of Simmons, who might declare for the upcoming NBA draft.

Jones says LSU “will be able to utilize this time to get better and start preparations for next season.” The coach says the Tigers fell short of their mark of getting to the NCAA Tournament and he takes full responsibility, adding he’ll do what is necessary to ensure LSU accomplishes one of its main goals in the future.

Defense, rebounding cost LSU in loss at Houston

Johnny Jones
Associated Press
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Having lost the biggest games on their non-conference schedule to date, LSU entered Sunday’s game at Houston in a position where they could ill-afford any more losses before the start of SEC play. But thanks to issues on the defensive end of the floor Johnny Jones’ team suffered its fourth loss of the season, falling 105-98 in overtime at Hoffheinz Pavilion.

Ben Simmons fouling out late in regulation did the Tigers no favors in the extra session, which came as a result of a Keith Hornsby three-pointer with nine seconds remaining in regulation. But when you defend and rebound at the level that LSU did Sunday night, it’s tough to win close games.

Houston shot 51.4 percent from the field and grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, converting those opportunities into 20 second-chance points. The played who posed the biggest issue for LSU in this regard was junior forward Chicken Knowles, who accounted for 20 points and nine rebounds before fouling out with six of his boards coming on the offensive end.

Houston scored 50 points in the paint Sunday night, taking advantage of numerous defensive breakdowns in the process. Those points came from second-chance opportunities and dribble penetration, with guard Rob Gray Jr. hitting multiple floaters on his way to a career-high 31 points. That all isn’t on the shoulders of the LSU big men given Houston’s ability to get quality looks off the dribble, but the Tigers need more from the likes of Aaron Epps (12 points) and Elbert Robinson III as they combined for four rebounds in the game.

The addition of Arizona transfer Craig Victor will help LSU in the front court; besides Simmons they don’t have much in the way of consistent production on the glass in the paint (Epps and Robinson average a combined six rebounds per game). But the Tigers’ issues when it comes to their lack of attention to detail, which was once again evident against Houston, cannot be solved by the arrival of one player.

That’s going to be a collective effort, and to this point in the season LSU hasn’t shown the ability to do this against quality competition on a consistent basis.

The offense is there, and the return of Hornsby is a big deal for a team that had issues with perimeter shooting. Hornsby scored 32 points, shooting 6-for-10 from three with his teammates combining to shot 3-for-16 from deep. Simmons added 13 points, 14 rebounds and five assists before fouling out, and Quarterman accounted for 27 points, ten rebounds and six assists off the bench (disciplinary reasons).

For all the talk about Simmons’ individual gifts and how his game translates to the next level, there’s work to be done at the college level first. And if Simmons and his teammates are to have any shot at getting to the NCAA tournament, they have to straighten things out on the defensive end.

LSU wins behind Simmons’ historic night but issues still loom

Ben Simmons
Associated Press
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Monday night’s decisive loss at the College of Charleston was the worst performance of the young season for an LSU team saddled with lofty expectations. The Tigers couldn’t make shots, and even though he managed to tally 15 points, 18 rebounds and four assists in that game freshman forward Ben Simmons shot 4-for-15 from the field and also had seven turnovers.

LSU needed to rebound Wednesday night against Atlantic Sun preseason favorite North Florida and they did, winning 119-108 thanks in large part to an incredible performance from their 6-foot-10 freshman phenom.

Simmons shot 15-for-20 from the field, with just two of those attempts coming outside of the paint, scored 43 points while also accounting for 14 rebounds, seven assists, five steals and three blocked shots. And he only turned the ball over twice against the Ospreys, who didn’t look to double-team Simmons all that often. He took advantage, getting to just about wherever he wanted to go on the court against a team whose tallest player who saw action was 6-foot-8.

So what do we take out of this? A historic performance, one in which Simmons joined Shaquille O’Neal and Pete Maravich as the lone players in school history to score 43 points in a game? Or a game in which, while acknowledging Simmons’ achievements, the Tigers allowed 108 points? How about both?

Wednesday’s game produced multiple standout offensive performances, with UNF’s tandem of Beau Beech and Dallas Moore scoring 31 points apiece and LSU guards Josh Gray and Tim Quarterman both posting stat lines of 20 points, six assists and one turnover on the night. But it would be Simmons, projected by many to be the top pick in next June’s NBA Draft, who stole the show.

The performance certainly deserves praise. But if Simmons is to have the opportunity to showcase his skills on college basketball’s biggest stage, LSU has some strides to make defensively.

Naismith Trophy early season watch list released

Denzel Valentine
Associated Press
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Wednesday afternoon the Atlanta Tipoff Club released its early season watch list for the Naismith Trophy, which is annually given to the nation’s top college basketball player. Fifty players are on the initial list, and a player being left off does not prevent them from appearing on lists that will be released later this season or winning the award at season’s end.

Seven freshmen made the initial list, including LSU’s Ben Simmons and Kentucky’s Skal Labissiere and Jamal Murray. Labissiere and Murray are joined on the list by teammate Tyler Ulis, making Kentucky one of two schools that can boast three players. The other school with three players on the initial watch list is Kansas, with guards Frank Mason III and Wayne Selden Jr., and forward Perry Ellis making the cut.

There are a number of programs with two players on the list, including Duke (Grayson Allen, Brandon Ingram), Gonzaga (Domas Sabonis, Kyle Wiltjer), Iowa State (Monté Morris, Georges Niang) and Wichita State (Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet). Below is the full list, with the midseason watch list (30 players) scheduled to be released in February.

Sophomore SG Grayson Allen (Duke)
Senior PF Ryan Anderson (Arizona)
Senior PG Ryan Arcidiacono (Villanova)
Senior SG Ron Baker (Wichita State)
Junior SF DeAndre Bembry (Saint Joseph’s)
Senior SG Malcolm Brogdon (Virginia)
Freshman SF Jaylen Brown (California)
Senior G Kyle Collinsworth (BYU)
Senior SG Kellen Dunham (Butler)
Junior PG Kris Dunn (Providence)
Senior SG A.J. English (Iona)
Senior PG Yogi Ferrell (Indiana)
Senior PF Rico Gathers Sr. (Baylor)
Senior G Michael Gbinije (Syracuse)
Junior SG Jack Gibbs (Davidson)
Senior C A.J. Hammons (Purdue)
Senior SG Shaquille Harrison (Tulsa)
Junior F Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin)
Senior SG Buddy Hield (Oklahoma)
Senior SG Danuel House (Texas A&M)
Freshman G/F Brandon Ingram (Duke)
Junior PG Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame)
Sophomore SF Justin Jackson (North Carolina)
Junior C Damian Jones (Vanderbilt)
Freshman PF Skal Labissiere (Kentucky)
Senior SG Damion Lee (Louisville)
Senior SG Caris LeVert (Michigan)
Junior PG Frank Mason III (Kansas)
Senior SG Sheldon McClellan (Miami)
Senior PG Nic Moore (SMU)
Junior PG Monté Morris (Iowa State)
Freshman SG Jamal Murray (Kentucky)
Freshman SG Malik Newman (Mississippi State)
Senior PF Georges Niang (Iowa State)
Senior PG Marcus Paige (North Carolina)
Senior G Gary Payton II (Oregon State)
Sophomore F/C Jakob Poeltl (Utah)
Sophomore PF Domantas Sabonis (Gonzaga)
Junior G/F Wayne Selden Jr. (Kansas)
Freshman F Ben Simmons (LSU)
Senior PG D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Georgetown)
Freshman PF Caleb Swanigan (Purdue)
Junior PG Isaiah Taylor (Texas)
Sophomore PG Melo Trimble (Maryland)
Sophomore PG Tyler Ulis (Kentucky)
Senior G Denzel Valentine (Michigan State)
Senior PG Fred VanVleet (Wichita State)
Senior PG Tyrone Wallace (California)
Senior PF Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga)

Ben Simmons has a minor injury, listed day-to-day

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LSU began practice on Monday with one notable absence.

Ben Simmons, one of the nation’s top recruits and the potential first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, has suffered a minor ankle injury and is being listed as day-to-day, according to Sheldon Mickles of the Baton Rogue Advocate.

The Tigers do not open the season until Nov. 13 when they host McNeese State, plenty of time to recover from a sore ankle.

Simmons has already suited up for LSU, averaging 20.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 3.6 steals and 2.2 blocks per game during the team’s foreign tour of Australia back in August.