NCB On The Trail: Ben Simmons

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The player rankings in all three high school classes (ESPN 100, 60 and 25) have been updated. We base our rankings on the four Ps: Performance, production potential and projection, among many other factors. First we analyze and evaluate a prospect's individual performance, his production level now and possibly at the collegiate level, his potential in the college game, and where he could land on a possible professional draft board.

The player rankings also affect a school's class rankings, which have also been updated. Since our last update in September, some of our evaluations have changed or been confirmed. We are midway through the high school season in our rankings and there's still time for more movement, as this is a fluid process.

Here are five things to know about the new rankings.

Recruiting Roundtable: Hoophall Classic preview 

January, 15, 2015
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The Hoophall Classic, a five-day event that features some of the nation's best high school teams and prospects, begins Thursday in Springfield, Massachusetts. Our experts discuss the biggest storylines heading into the action.


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Five observations: Cancer Research Classic 

January, 5, 2015
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WHEELING, W. Va. -- Here's what we saw at the Cancer Research Classic, a tournament featuring some of the nation's best Catholic high schools.

1. Ben Simmons (No. 1 in ESPN 100) did his best to put to rest any debate of who is the best player in the 2015 class. This past Friday Mr. Simmons put together the "perfect" game, scoring 26 points and not missing a single shot or free throw. He went 11-for-11 from the field, 2-of-2 from 3 and 2-of-2 from the free throw line. He added five rebounds and six assists for good measure. Simmons is pretty much a man among boys at this point. If he can consistently knock down the perimeter jump shot, he completes the puzzle at the high school level.


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One-on-one with No. 1 prospect Ben Simmons 

December, 23, 2014
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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?


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Five observations: City of Palms Classic 

December, 23, 2014
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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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What to watch: Montverde vs. Bishop O'Dowd 

December, 12, 2014
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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
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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
11/12/14
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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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Five takeaways from Adidas Nations 

August, 6, 2014
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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
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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
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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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Top 5 committed prospects of 2015 

July, 7, 2014
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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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