Monday, October 14, 2013
Scout's take: Ben Simmons to LSU
By Paul Biancardi
Ben Simmons, the No. 4 player in the Class of 2015 ESPN 60, decided to give LSU a verbal commitment shortly after his unofficial visit this past weekend. Simmons has tremendous versatility and skill for his size (6-foot-9), with an innate feel for the game at a young age. The Tigers are working their way up to being a contender through the recruiting efforts of coach Johnny Jones and his staff.
Australia native Ben Simmons is a 6-9 lefty with a wide variety of skills.
Why he committed: Since the moment Simmons, an Australia native, landed in the United States and Montverde Academy in Florida, Jones and assistant coach David Patrick have been on him. All of the major programs offered him or were soon to offer, and he had his choice of colleges. When it comes to recruiting, it's hard to beat long-lasting relationships. In this case, Patrick is Simmons' godfather and played with his dad, Dave, in Australia.
What he brings: Simmons is known for his scoring. rebounding and passing. His skill level is advanced, and he is really strong in the weight room. Watching his game, you see his fluidity as he runs, shoots and handles the pass. Simmons has a high basketball IQ as he understands angles on defense, moves without the ball and understands spacing -- aspects many prospects don't learn until college. He rebounds in traffic with length, bounce and strong hands. His vision and unselfishness make him a facilitator, and which at his size make him unique.
As a forward he will shoot jumpers or drive from midrange. Inside, he scores with bounce and a quick move or with the savvy to pump fake a defender off his feet. “People talk about his offensive game -- which they should -- but after working with him on defense, he can be very effective with his defensive versatility and strength,” Montverde coach Kevin Boyle said.
How he fits: With this much talent and potential, Simmons will fit anywhere on the floor. Jones can put him anywhere in the paint or facing the basket, which is where he is most comfortable, and he will produce. Look for him to be involved in ball screens and dribble handoffs on the perimeter, with the notion to stretch out a defense or pick it apart. Defensively, in any man-to-man schemes he will guard in the post with the IQ and agility to bang or switch and go outside to 17 feet and challenge big perimeter offensive threats.
Reminds me of: A bigger version of Manu Ginobili. Both are left-handed, fluid, skilled and possess excellent vision. Ginobili is a far better 3-point shooter, but both players are excellent on the drive and can pass well.
How LSU's recruiting is shaping up: In the Class of 2014, the Tigers just landed true center Elbert Robinson and guard Jalyn Patterson, who also hails from Montverde. Robinson gives LSU power and size inside with a nice touch, while Patterson makes big shots. Remember, Patterson nailed the game-winning jumper as Montverde won the prestigious National High School Invitational last spring. LSU also brought in a top 10 national class in 2013. Add the 2014 haul and Simmons already in the 2015 class, and LSU could be knocking on the door for an SEC title -- and a lot more.