“HOW GOOD IS BEN SIMMONS?”


20150401_MCDAAG_Ben_Simmons

Ben Simmons in 2015 McDonald’s High School All-American Game

“Unbelievable Talent”.  Analysts, scouts, and fans aren’t the only people saying that about Ben Simmons. The one who made news by recently saying it. Only the greatest player on the earth in LeBron James. James was recently quoted as saying that about the 19 year old who was born in Melbourne, Australia. While comparisons to LeBron James seems unfair, the LSU freshmen is the top talent to play in college since Anthony Davis won a national championship with the University of Kentucky in 2012.

The eventual road he took to Baton Rouge, Louisiana was not as typical as most top players his age. At age 15, he led Australia to a silver medal at the FIBA Under-17 World Championships. Then came the big high school decision. The now 6’10” 225 pound SF/PF lefty headed to high school powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida. The new head coach for Montverde at the time of Simmons arrival was Kevin Boyle.

This author had seen Boyle’s teams play for years being a New Jersey resident. Before making the move to Florida, Boyle was the head coach of New Jersey power Saint Patrick High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Boyle coached current NBA players Kyrie Irving and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on the same team. Boyle’s move to Montverde created a new national power. His first star player? D’Angelo Russell, the number 2 pick (Los Angeles Lakers) in the 2015 draft. His second star player? Ben Simmons, who along with Russell put the beautiful Florida High School on the national high school map by winning 3 consecutive National High School Championships, which were all played at Madison Square Garden.

Simmons was so dominant in his senior year he received numerous awards:

  1. Gatorade National Player of the Year (2015)
  2. Naismith Prep Player of the Year (2015)
  3. McDonald’s All-American (2015)
  4. First Team Parade All-American (2015)

Simmons road to LSU was paved by David Foster, who is an assistant coach with the Tigers. He also happens to be the 19 year old’s god-father. Throughout the first month of the college basketball season Simmons has clearly been the best player in the nation.

One stat line this year provides proof of the all-around talent Ben Simmons is. 43PTS, 14REB, 7AST, 5STL, and 3BLK in a win over North Florida on December 7, 2015. It is the versatility of his game that makes him so unique. The very good outside shooting, ball-handling, defense, being ambidextrous around the rim. and passing is a rare sight among players that tall and young.

  That versatility has made him the envy of NBA scouts as he is practically assured (barring injury) of being at least a top 2 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Simmons was also my Pre-Season Player of the Year.https://inthegymrange.com/my-preseason-college-all-america-team-2

Throughout the first 7 games of the 2015-16 season Simmons is averaging 19.9PTS, 14.9REB, 6AST, 1.6BLK, while playing 35.6 minutes per game (out of 40). These overall numbers haven’t been seen in the college game in years. Coincidentally, the former college and NBA player who I compare Ben Simmons to the most and also had similar stats to is Danny Manning.

The star of the 1988 Kansas Jayhawks National Championship Team and former number 1 overall pick (1988) was a college legend and was destined for NBA greatness. Injuries derailed his NBA career but there was no question Manning had all the attributes of a star.

While LSU hasn’t been among the upper echelon of college basketball in recent years, it has had its share of elite players. Shaquille O’Neal, “Pistol” Pete Maravich, and Bob Petit are examples of the talent it has produced.

Can Ben Simmons reach that elite level status of LSU and NBA greatness? Only time will tell. However, barring injury Ben Simmons can be as good as he wants to be.

article was written on 12-11-15

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11 thoughts on ““HOW GOOD IS BEN SIMMONS?””

  1. Javier says:

    According to the info that you are sharing, it has a great start and it must be considered to enter the NBA. As Long as he keeps delivering good results like this, I have no doubt that it can be seem soon enough to any team of NBA, New Blood is always great to have it available. Here is an example, there is no guarantee that Kobe Bryant can finish this season because his legs are not the same as it was before. Great article

    1. admin says:

      Thank you. Yes, he is an unbelievable talent.

  2. JeffWA says:

    Hi Rob, Being a sports lover as you are and having read some of your website articles before, I have always come to enjoy their content.

    This article about the LSU freshman did not disappoint. You did a great job in showing your readers just how much of a special talent that Ben Simmons is as a collegiate freshman.

    Your quote in stating that even someone like LeBron James has recognized the talents that this kid has obviously indicates that at the pro level everyone knows about this young man.

    So, Rob do you think that he’ll turn pro after this season? That is such a controversial thing that the NBA, (and it is their rule) has in stating that any player one year after graduating h.s. can make himself eligible for the draft.

    Unfortunately so many 18/19/20 year old kids make a big mistake. They think they’re ready for the NBA but sadly they also are badly mistaken. Not every kid that young has the talent of a LeBron James, Stefan Curry, or Kevin Durant surrounding that player’s ability. From what I’ve heard even some very wise former players, scouts, and personnel feel that Ben Simmons is not a definite lock to become a future great NBA player.

    Most collegiate players mistakenly do not understand that with the NBA comes a long 8 month, 82 game grind. Once they reach the pros and after the season starts because of travel, moving in and out of hotels daily on the road, games and etc. there really is little time for a rookie to work on his game, as the physical and mental exhaustion sets into their beings. The NBA schedule is more than twice the length in games of a collegiate season.

    I went to UConn and am a HUGE follower of both the Husky men’s and women’s basketball teams. The women’s team has the greatest program with 10 NCAA titles, and working on an 11th this season in collegiate history. The men’s team has had a lot of success since 1999 in winning 4 NCAA titles and have had great future pros such as Ray Allen, Richard Hamilton, Caron Butler, and going way back Cliff Robinson, (Portland Trail Blazers throughout the 90’s) have great careers lasting at least a decade in the pros.

    So many other UConn players however all made the mistake of leaving either one or two years too early for the pros. And practically none of them lasted long in the NBA all because they simply were not ready to play at that level yet skill wise when they left after their freshman and sophomore seasons. No doubt this is the same all across the college landscape as so many naive 19 year old kids with dreams of $$$$$ floating in their heads all declare themselves and leave early for the pros, foresaking that free 4 year collegiate scholarship and chance to get an educational degree. And in 90% or more of these cases these kids all made a big mistake in their final choice to leave early.

    I’d like to see that Ben Simmons stay at least one more year in college to improve his game. It’s probably silly thinking on my part as most likely, instead he will come out after the season ends and the draft takes place in June!

    Great article, Rob!
    Jeff

    1. Rob Giannotti says:

      Thank you for your excellent review. I really appreciate it.

  3. What is everyone’s opinion about Ben Simmons this year for Philadelphia? He is hurt. Do you think it is wise if he plays if he isn’t 100% healthy? Let us hear what you think.

  4. Egon Sarv says:

    Hi!

    Great talent indeed. In fact, I hadn’t heard about him before so, being curious I googled his name a bit. Seems to me, he comes from a nice, humble family. I think his parents can already be very proud of their son.

    It’s a bit off track but… somehow I had forgotten that Pete “the Pistol” came also from LSU. As a blogger I can tell that Pete’s story is real motivation booster. There is a true story movie about him (“The Pistol”) and I recommend it to everyone.

    God bless 🙂

    1. Rob Giannotti says:

      Hello,

      I appreciate your comments. I definitely have heard of Pete Maravich. He was an amazing player and one of the best passers that ever played. LSU has produced a bunch of excellent players such as Shaquille O’Neal as well. Simmons was the number 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. He got hurt in the preseason and hasn’t played in the teams first 20-25 games. There is a good chance he might miss the entire year. Every basketball fan was really waiting to see him play but health comes first.

      -Rob

  5. JeffWA says:

    It truly is difficult to protect the potential greatness of a lot of these college hoop players, especially when they’re 18/19 year old kids just out of high school.

    So many of them go pro much too soon without really developing their skill set in the sport other than their being able to dunk a basketball.

    Except for the rare players in history – Lebron James being one of them most high school kids are not even close to being ready for the NBA. At least they now have a rule where a kid right out of h.. can’t immediately go pro.

    With freshman college players such as Ben Simmons being able to declare one year after they have graduated from high school most of them still make the big time mistake in believing that they can handle the rigors of the pro 82 game schedule, (not including playoffs) when a college season is not even half that length, and much less so in high school.

    From what I understand Simmons will miss a good chunk of his rookie season anyway after getting drafted by Philadelphia due to an injury. I guess it is his fortune that he signed a 3 year guaranteed contract. However to call him the next “Magic Johnson” because of his passing ability as a tall point guard is an insult to the former Lakers’ great. At least Johnson spent two years at Michigan State.

    Jeff

    1. Rob Giannotti says:

      Hello,

      Your comment is one of the best ones that I have received in the 13 months that I have had this website. I agree with everything that you have said and you really seem to know what you are writing about. Yes, Simmons got hurt in a pre-season game and he stands a good chance of missing the NBA season. While missing his entire rookie year will set him back, the most important thing is that he is 100% healthy before returning to play so that the injury doesn’t linger. For 76ers fans, the wait to see their future has to wait another year.

      -Rob

  6. Marley Dawkins says:

    Well Ben Simmons sounds like a beast of an athlete to me, if there are even whispers of comparisons to LeBron James that pretty much says it all.

    Has he had many injuries in his career so far? Like you say it can be the difference between a athlete making it to the top, or falling flat on there face trying.

    1. Rob Giannotti says:

      Hello,

      While he is a very good player, it is unfair to compare him to LeBron. He is also injured right now and might miss the entire season. You make a great point on how injuries can be a huge factor in how a players career turns out. Lets hope for his sake that he gets healthy and them performs the way that everybody expects him to.

      -Rob

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