Ben Simmons practicing with his high school team. (Source: Jacques Doucet/WAFB)
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
He's the No. 1 basketball recruit in America and this weekend he's in Louisiana getting ready to give LSU fans a taste of what they'll see in the PMAC starting next season.
LSU signee Ben Simmons and his high school team are in New Orleans as part of the All-State Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic.
Simmons is actually only the third tallest player, with a teammate who's 7'4 and another that's 7'0. But he's obviously the name that dwarfs them all.
"A little bit. You know growing up, you always see cameras at NBA games and stuff like that. It's what I want to be, an NBA player. So I guess it comes with it," said the LSU signee when asked about being used to all the attention.
Simmons' high school coach Kevin Boyle says he could've been the top pick in the NBA Draft this year.
"He to me is like graceful power," said Boyle. "He's got a lot of power but he's very graceful up and down the floor. He and Lebron (James) are probably the best two passers I've seen at that body size and height in high school."
LSU will get Simmons' services for at least one season. And he certainly sounds ready to wear the purple and gold more than that.
"I can't wait to get there and be a part of the LSU family," said Simmons. "I wanted to go to a school at a place where I could make a big impact and I feel like LSU is a good place. Jordan Mickey and Jarell are really leading that team along with Josh Gray. And Keith Hornsby is also a big part of that."
Simmons signing with LSU has led to great things for the program. Five-star guard Antonio Blakeney has given his verbal pledge to head coach Johnny Jones.
"They played together in AAU ball. He's a tremendous, tremendous outside shooter," commented Boyle about Blakeney. "He'll be a great compliment to that program. He's a guy that's also got a chance to reach the NBA. Maybe in four years, but he's got that shot."
LSU basketball recruiting is actually ranked higher than LSU football recruiting at the moment.
Simmons' team from Montverde, Florida will take on Helen Cox at the Alario Center with tip off scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday night.