Ben Simmons Talks About LSU: ‘I Don’t Even Know What I Learned…’
Signing the top recruit in college basketball sounds like a great idea. It sounded like the craziest thing that LSU's Men's Basketball program could do in 2015, but that's exactly what then coach Johnny Jones did when they signed Ben Simmons.
According to every sports outlet that covered it, Simmons was by far the top recruit for that year's crop of high school kids. He attended Montverde Academy in Florida, after growing up in Australia. That journey is now recapped in Simmons' new Showtime documentary 'One and Done', where he goes through his family moving around Australia (his dad was a pro basketball player there) to coming stateside for high school, all the way into the NBA.
But the biggest point of his documentary is his disdain for the NCAA.
Simmons ended up at LSU after being recruited by nearly every school in the country, which left some to ask a lot of questions. But Simmons recruitment came with a blemish; he had already let everyone know he was going to leave after one season. That point sent some teams into a realm where they didn't recruit too hard, knowing they were only looking at one season from a kid. Even if he was the BEST available.
But now it appears there were some other motivations playing into Simmons' decisions.
With the new documentary, it's clear Simmons is out to make a point, one that a lot of others have already been screaming about. The idea that schools making profit off students, who can't make profit for themselves, is inherently evil.
But he's not just calling out the NCAA, he's also throwing shade at LSU. Simmons may be trying to make a point at the whole process, but it looks like LSU will get run-over while he's doing that.
Simmons sat down for an interview with Maverick Carter, where he drop some decent sized bombs in the direction of LSU. Here are some choice quotes:
“I think I would have learned a lot more by being around professional athletes. Looking at it now, I don’t even know what I learned financially or just being a person at LSU. I think I’ve learned a lot more with this last year being in Philly and being a pro, than I did at LSU.”
“When they started asking more of me, like more photos shoots and meeting with them and things I had to do throughout the day. I’d have class and then I would go lift, have practice, then ‘Oh Ben, you have to stay and do media and the photo shoot. I would be kind of annoyed, like ‘What am I getting out of this?’”
Is Simmons wrong? No.
Will anything change from this? No.
So what's the point?
Well, Simmons had an agenda. He clearly was more concerned about his NBA career than anything else, which is totally fine. In fact, it seems like he was more concerned about his documentary about NCAA basketball than he was playing NCAA basketball. Which actually explains why people say he "quit on his team" or "never showed up when they needed him", because he never viewed it as "his team". He wasn't there to hang banners, or make All-SEC teams, he was there to stay in shape, keep his name out there, and shoot a documentary on something he wanted to expose.
He didn't go to LSU to help LSU, he used LSU to help him.
And you know what, LSU fell for it.
Why didn't Kentucky get Simmons? How did Florida not get him? Why didn't he end up at Michigan State, or any of the other monster basketball programs in the country?
Some believed that LSU did something heinous or illegal to get him. But perhaps they just ignored some red flags that other programs saw. Maybe Tom Izzo and John Calipari noticed this documentary idea, and sniffed it out. Maybe these other programs saw the writing on Ben Simmons' wall, and didn't want to be the target of his NCAA-based rage. Maybe they just dodged a bullet LSU didn't even see.
Either way, LSU will likely get out of this without much damage being done. Mostly because LSU didn't do anything of note with Simmons, so they can't have any of that taken away or tarnished, but also because Johnny Jones is gone.
It's unlikely the NCAA will be able to punish LSU for anything they did in recruiting Simmons, or for his time in Baton Rouge...and honestly after Simmons is done talking about LSU, he'll probably end up punishing them worse than the NCAA ever could.