By Matthew Bennett; a sophomore at Cedarville University.
If you are a college basketball fan and have not heard about Ben Simmons, teach me your ways. He seemingly appears in every twist and turn of the college basketball season. Simmons has been dubbed the “second coming of LeBron” and a “sure number one pick,” so before his collegiate days are up I wanted to see if he was hoops or hype.
First, let’s talk hoops. Simmons is the star on an otherwise underwhelming LSU squad that will miss out on the NCAA tournament. Despite the team’s lack of production, Simmons has averaged nearly 20 ppg, 5 apg, and is just shy of 12 rpg. Simmons also holds a 1.49 assist to turnover ratio. This could be better, but for a 6-10 forward, it’s nothing to sneeze at. Simmons looks to impact games in any way he can. When the Tigers took on North Carolina State in late November, Simmons scored just four points. His impact was still felt, as he had 10 dimes and 14 boards in the loss. Simmons is fifth in the nation in double-doubles with 23. The numbers speak for themselves.
Now let’s talk hype. Before the college basketball season even started there was talk of Simmons being a one-and-done. With his stats, you would think that there is nothing else for him to gain in college. One thing that he could gain is maturity. Simmons has been ruled ineligible for the John R. Wooden Award due to poor academic performance. The Wooden Award is the basketball equivalent of the Heisman. I don’t know if Simmons just had a rough time in classes or if he listened to the media about his projected draft status; regardless, he should have got help for his academics. Another reason for caution is that some college game doesn’t translate over to the pros. Anthony Bennett was selected no. 1 in the 2013 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and has now been released by his third team. Anthony Bennett averaged 16 points and 8 rebounds while playing at UNLV.
Whether Ben Simmons is all hoops or just hype, only time will tell.