Ben Simmons has been the hot name in college basketball all season, however, his team has been far from it. LSU finished the season 19-14 after a 71-38 beat down at the hands of Texas A&M. Simmons finished the season leading LSU in everything…no seriously…everything. The freshman standout led the team in minutes per game(34.9), points per game(19.2), assists per game(4.8), rebounds per game(11.8), steals per game(2.0), blocks per game(0.8) and turnovers per game(3.4).
LSU was the Ben Simmons Show and one can only wonder how the Bayou Bengals would have competed without their star forward this season. In fact, they hardly competed with him. The Tigers missed the NCAA Basketball tournament and just turned down an invitation to the National Invitational Tournament. The show is over for Simmons in Baton Rouge, just like the hopes and dreams of Tiger Nation in 2016.
However, LSU’s disappointing season could lead to another historic moment for Ben Simmons. Simmons, if selected, would be the first player since 2006 to be drafted number one overall without appearing in the NCAA tournament.
The last player to do so? Andrea Bargnani. However, Bargnani had a pretty good excuse given the fact that he was drafted straight out of Italy. The last American to so? Dwight Howard, however, that does not quite match up with Simmons either. Howard did not appear in the NCAA tournament before being selected first overall in 2004 because the big man was too busy winning the Georgia High School Association A Championship for Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy.
Being the top pick after missing the NCAA Tournament is rare but not unprecedented. In 1998, Michael Olowokandi was selected by the Los Angeles Clippers after missing the tournament with the University of the Pacific.
They say you have to take the good with the bad and Simmons time at LSU was definitely the latter. However, Ben Simmons has a bright future, plenty more good than bad lays in front of him.
As for LSU? At least you still have this guy.