NCB On The Trail: Ben Simmons

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Ben Simmons -- the No. 1 prospect in the senior class and an LSU commit -- is leading his Montverde Academy (No. 1) team and impacting games with his versatility by way of scoring, rebounding and handing out assists. When you evaluate his game closely, it's easy to see that it's his passing vision and accuracy that make him special and others better.

Simmons is a native of Australia and has a father who played college basketball in the states (Oklahoma City College) and professionally in Australia at the highest level (Melbourne Tigers). His father, Dave, has aided in his development and has passed down some high level instincts for the game. Ben Simmons wants to be great, and quickly acknowledges his need to improve defensively and not to lose his focus and intensity during games.

The number of Australian-born players making an impact in college basketball is growing and Simmons will be the next one to do so.

I sat down with Simmons, who is quietly dominating the high school landscape.

1. You came to this country as a sophomore extremely talented, a little passive and with a lot promise. How did you become the No. 1 player in the country?

FORT MYERS, Fla. --- The 42nd Culligan City of Palms Classic High School Basketball Tournament brought some of the nation's top talent and teams to Southwest Florida for six days of action at Bishop Verot High School.


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The high school basketball season is now in full swing and ESPN2 will feature a marquee matchup on Friday at 6:30 pm ET where No.1 Montverde Academy (Fla.) will host No. 16 Bishop O'Dowd out of Oakland, California.

Here's what to watch for in this game that is headlined by two ESPN 100 Top 5 prospects in No. 1 Ben Simmons, who is headed to LSU, and No. 5 Ivan Rabb who has cut his list to California, Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona and UCLA.


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LSU signs No. 1 Ben Simmons

November, 12, 2014
Nov 12
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The LSU Tigers announced the signing of ESPN.com's top-rated prospect Ben Simmons to a national letter of intent on Wednesday.

"We are thrilled to have Ben Simmons and his wonderful family officially join the LSU basketball family," Tigers head coach Johnny Jones said on the school's website. "His talent level, hard work and passion for the game will allow him to make an immediate impact on the program."

Simmons averaged 18.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Montverde (Fla.) Academy last season. The Australian native is the only 2015 recruit for Jones and the Tigers thus far.

Roundtable: Analyzing the early signing period 

November, 12, 2014
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College basketball's early signing period begins Wednesday, and while 78 of the ESPN 100's prospects have committed to schools across the country, it's time to put pen to paper. Our RecruitingNation analysts break down what they expect to see before the signing window closes on Nov. 19.


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Every coach wants an unselfish team, and one way to get there is by evaluating and recruiting prospects who understand the value of moving the ball and making the assist.

You can teach players how to make a pass or show film of where the ball should be thrown and what type of pass should be made, but it takes skill, timing and innate instincts to be an accomplished passer.

The following are the five best passers in the senior class, and each has a skill that separates them from their peers.

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Big men dominate in class of 2015 

September, 29, 2014
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A closer look at the class in 2015 shows that 10 of the top 15 prospects are either power forwards or centers. But don’t be mistaken as not all big men are the same. This is certainly not a one-size-fits-all talent pool.

Let’s look at how they are different in size, body type, skill, athletic ability and basketball IQ.

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Adidas Nations, one of the final team events of the summer, finished its four-day run on Monday. The talent included outstanding players in the United States to top global prospects. In the championship game, 2016 adidas U.S. Lillard defeated 2016 adidas U.S. Wall, 106-78. 2015 adidas U.S. Howard won the consolation over team Europe, 52-46.

My five takeaways


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Peach Jam Day 2 recap 

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
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NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- The Nike Elite Youth Basketball League finals at the Peach Jam are arguably the No. 1 basketball event of the spring and summer club circuit. The Peach Jam features the teams with the 24 best records from the four-session Nike EYBL season. Here are some of the top performances from the action of the first full day.

Chris Clarke
2015, SF, 6-foot-5, 195 pounds
Travel Team: Boo Williams

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LeBron James Skills Academy recap: Day 2 

July, 11, 2014
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Ivan Rabb, the No. 1 player in the ESPN 100, has had his moments at this camp. However, Ben Simmons is making a strong push for that spot as he has been clearly the best player after a couple of sessions. There is no player in the country who combines skill, savvy and athleticism like Simmons.

Most explosive

Malik Monk
2016, SG, 6-foot-3, 180 pounds


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LeBron James Skills Academy recap: Day 1 

July, 10, 2014
Jul 10
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With all the speculation over LeBron James' next destination, he still found time to exhibit his elaborate skill set with all the campers as he leapfrogged from one court to another. However, he wasn't the only star of the day as local product Stephen Zimmerman dazzled onlookers with his vast skill set. Zimmerman wasn't the only camper that stood out as Syracuse-bound Malachi Richardson, multiskilled Miles Bridges, and 2017 stud DeAndre Ayton all had their moments.

Best Player

Ben Simmons

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With the recent commitment of Daniel Giddens to Ohio State, 33 of the top 100 players in the Class of 2015 already have verbally committed, even though the July evaluation period is just beginning. These prospects sometimes get less media attention because they have already made their decisions, but they are still being constantly evaluated by our staff.

Let’s take a look at five committed prospects from the 2015 class who are performing well and could see jumps in their rankings:


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The NBPA top 100 dream team 

June, 23, 2014
Jun 23
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After watching over 100 prospects at the NBPA top 100 camp during a four-day period, I thought who would I want to coach if I had one practice before playing one game.

I am making my decisions based on their performances and stats from the camp courtesy of Statva.com, along with prior evaluations from the high school year and the spring evaluation period.

Assembling this team wasn't just about sheer talent. It was more about the prospects’ skill level, productivity, and how well they know their roles and are able to blend their talent into a team concept. The roster below has everything I would want and need to win a game.

Here is the starting lineup, sixth man, and bench:

Starting lineup


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NBPA Top 100 camp wrap 

June, 22, 2014
Jun 22
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The NBPA Top 100 camp always displays some of the best collections of talent in the summer.

The most impressive part of this event was the fact that the players played hard and competed from start to finish. Here are some players who stood out.

Best point guards

Perry Dozier (Columbia, South Carolina/Spring Valley)
PG/SG, 2015, 6-foot-4, 185 pounds


Perry is a rare combo guard. Many players who are designated as combo guards are generally not a point guard or a shooting guard. Dozier is actually both, as he can play either guard spot with equal efficiency. He was much more productive and assertive than I had seen in the past, and he showed the ability to run a team. Dozier averaged just over 8 points per game for the camp, but he showcased the ability of a top-20 player in the class.


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NBPA Top 100 Day 2 recap 

June, 20, 2014
Jun 20
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The second day of the NBPA top 100 camp is in the books, and now that the players have a greater feel of what to expect, there was a good flow to the games.

As the talent gets acclimated to each other, the matchups become exciting and intriguing. Let’s take a look at who impressed and what was the best head-to-head matchup of the day.


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