The recruiting process can be a difficult one for top prospects, and that can even be the case for those who have already decided where they’ll play their college basketball. One player in that position is five-star forward Ben Simmons, whose skill set has resulted in a number of scouts labeling him the best prospect in the Class of 2015.
Simmons has already picked a college, with the Montverde Academy senior having verbally committed to LSU last October. For some, the fact that Simmons chose Johnny Jones’ program instead of one considered to be more prestigious from a basketball standpoint remains a surprise. How much has this affected the speculation that Simmons could forego a stop in Baton Rouge to play professionally overseas?
That’s a question best answered by Simmons, and despite stating back in July that he has no plans of doing anything but attend LSU next year it’s apparently something Simmons still has to deal with.
In an interview with Jason Jordan of USA Today, Simmons once again stated that he will be an LSU Tiger when the 2015-16 season rolls around.
“Everyone is different,” said Simmons, the top overall player in the ESPN 100 who has led Montverde to back-to-back national titles. “It’s funny reading this story about me going back overseas after high school. They are so sure that it’s true, but they have no idea. I even read the other day that I was going to a different college!”
“People are still shocked that I didn’t pick a school like Kentucky or Duke,” Simmons said. “They’re all great schools, but I picked the best school for me. It’s all in what you make it when you get there, and I loved everything about LSU. No overseas, no going to another college; I’ll be going to LSU after I leave Montverde, 100 percent.”
If there happened to be any LSU fans nervous about Simmons’ plans in spite of his assertion that he will join the program next season, those words should help alleviate any concerns. However the question of greater importance for LSU at this point in time is what kind of momentum will Simmons look to help the Tigers build on when he arrives?
With Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin leading the way in the front court, LSU will have enough talent to account for the early departure of Johnny O’Bryant III. On the perimeter two newcomers will be important pieces, with Josh Gray giving LSU more scoring at the point and UNC Asheville transfer Keith Hornsby being a solid scorer as well.
With those players, among others, in the fold the hope in Baton Rouge is that in 2015 Simmons will be joining a program coming off of its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2009.