October 12, 2015
It is rare when you get a group of people to agree on anything. However, that is not the case when talking about incoming LSU freshman Ben Simmons, who will lead the Tigers against NC State, Marquette, and Arizona State in the FanDuel Legends Classic at Barclays Center, November 23-24.
The Gatorade National Player of the Year, the Naismith National Player of the Year, the McDonald’s All-American Game Player of the Year, and MVP of the Dick’s Sporting Goods National High School Championship has earned accolades from across the spectrum, from sportswriters, coaches, and NBA scouts.
Jeff Goodman, ESPN.com:
“He has the strength, handle and athleticism to get to the basket – especially at the high school level – virtually whenever he wants. He’s able to finish above the rim and has tremendous body control. There was some thought, not too long ago, that the Aussie was too nice, too passive. However, he’s become far more assertive in the past year or so, and now he’s comfortable with being an alpha dog on the court.
“Simmons is the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA draft.”
Jack Winter, Dime Magazine:
“Simmons truly stands out with the ball in his hands. He boasts the court sense and general nuance of a primary playmaker, an all-encompassing attribute combined with his physical tools that make the common ‘poor man’s LeBron James’ description seem very apt. Simmons is a willing and creative passer with a natural understanding of pace and angles normally reserved for point guards.”
Chris Mannix, SI.com:
“With power forward size, center length and guard skills, Simmons is a Scottie Pippen-type package. ‘An absolute stud,’ declared one NBA assistant general manager. ‘All the tools,’ added a personnel scout. After watching Simmons work all week (in the McDonald’s All-America game), East coach Bruce Kelley called Simmons ‘our most selfless player.'”
John Gasaway, ESPN.com:
“Simmons is variously listed as 6-foot-9 or 6-foot-10, but just consider the implications of a nominal power forward of either height who can record nine assists in the incorrigibly shoot-first precincts of a high-school all-star game. His stay in Baton Rouge will be far too brief…but Simmons does have the potential to be the best player in the nation in 2015-16.”
Montverde Academy head coach Kevin Boyle:
“Ben Simmons is an electrifying player. He’s a great rebounder and he has the ability to help teammates get better. I think he’s the best high school player in the country and the scary thing is I think he can get a lot better. He’s improved each year because he recognizes he can keep getting better.”
NBA scout to Yahoo Sports:
“He can play on any NBA team right now. He’s big and sees the game like a point guard. He can guard shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards. That’s real talent. He looks 7-footers in the eye. Just skip him and go on to evaluate the next guy.”
NBA scout to Chris Mannix, SI.com:
“The one thing that stands out when you watch him is that he always makes the right plays. I really don’t see any weaknesses. You can tell he grew up watching LeBron James because he plays like a kid that wants to be great at all facets of the game.”
You can see what they’re talking about at Barclays Center in November.
The Tigers take on Marquette in the first semifinal game of the FanDuel Legends Classic on Nov. 23 at Barclays Center. The game will be followed by NC State meeting Arizona State with the championship and consolation games being played on Nov. 24. Tickets are available at: http://bit.ly/1Uyw6l2
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