LSU freshman Ben Simmons is putting up huge numbers and is widely considered to be the leading candidate for the No. 1 pick in June’s NBA Draft but he won’t be on the final ballot for the Wooden Award. According to LSU head coach Johnny Jones, Simmons didn’t meet all of the academic requirements for the award and Simmons wasn’t certified by the school to be included on the 15-person final ballot.
“From what I was told, he didn’t meet all of the requirements,” Jones said to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman. “He wasn’t certified by the school to be on the ballot.”
LSU spokesman Kent Lowe also told Goodman that Simmons “did not have the necessary criteria to be eligible.”
The Wooden Award has a criteria that student-athletes must meet to be eligible, including academic pursuits. Simmons is averaging 19.7 points, 11.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game but he was benched to start LSU’s loss against Tennessee on Feb. 20 for an academic-related issue.
Here are the Wooden Award’s guidelines:
- Consideration should be given to scholastic achievement and aspirations. All candidates must have a cumulative 2.00 grade point average since enrolling in their current university.
- Candidates must exhibit strength of character, both on and off the court.
- Candidates should be those who contribute to the team effort.
- Candidates must excel in both offense and defense.
- Candidates should be considered on their performance over the course of the entire season (pre-conference, conference and tournament play).
LSU has an important bubble game against Kentucky on Saturday afternoon. With a win and some help, the Tigers could be the No. 1 seed in the SEC conference tournament next week. A loss to the Wildcats on Saturday could drop LSU to the No. 5 seed in that same tournament, and more importantly, potentially on the wrong side of the bubble for Selection Sunday.