In the 2015-16 season, the LSU Tigers were the talk of the town, but not always in the brightest of light. At the start of the season, the hype surrounding the program was astounding, with the arrival of star freshman Ben Simmons.
As the season wore on, the Tigers were never able to live up to the hype, ruffling some feathers along the way. Some felt as though the Tigers ‘wasted’ having Simmons on their roster. They finished with a 19-14 record on the season, and declined a spot in the 2016 NIT field which ultimately ended their up-and-down season.
As a a team, they showed flashes of brilliance and had some stretches that left you simply scratching your head. Through it all, Simmons remained at the top of most draft boards, while Duke’s Brandon Ingram was closing the gap.
On Sunday, in a move that should come as no surprise to any basketball fan, Simmons announced that he was signing with an agent and declaring for the 2016 NBA Draft, thus ending his collegiate career after just one season.
Simmons, a 6’10”, 225-pound forward from Melbourne, Australia, is highly regarded as one of the best college prospects in recent memory. His unique combination of size and skill have NBA scouts across the league falling in love with on-court abilities. He has power forward size with the ball handling and distribution skills of a point guard.
In his freshman season in Baton Rouge, LA, he averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.0 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game. Simmons led the Tigers in all five categories, and he was the only player in the country to average at least 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists per game.
To put his numbers into perspective, he recorded 24 double-doubles on the year, and scored in double figures in all but one game.
His only game scoring in single digits came back on November 24th, his fifth collegiate game, against the NC State Wolfpack. In the Tigers’ 83-72 overtime loss, Simmons was held to just 4 points on 1-of-6 shooting.
Simmons would finish the game with 14 rebounds, 10 assists, 3 blocks, and 3 steals.
Despite the team’s poor showing in the season in comparison to the talent level and pre-season hype, Ben Simmons is still the top prospect in the draft class. Teams still love what he can do on the hardwood, and he will be one of the top two picks in this year’s draft.