Ben Simmons Benched At Start, Academic Issues Cited

Ben Simmons, the LSU prodigy, came off the bench as his team suffered an 81-65 defeat against the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday.


After the game, Tigers coach Johnny Jones revealed that Simmons could not start the game because “we had to address some academic stuff with him earlier in the week.” Jones revealed that Simmons was lagging behind in academics and needed to focus on the same. “This is just one of the attention getters for him. We’re hopeful that this (benching him) will help get him focused and concentrated on what he should be doing.”

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The Australian native entered the game with 15:30 remaining in the first half. Despite the late entry, he finished with 21 points and 9 rebounds from 36 minutes. Simmons, who loves to show off his ball-handling and passing ability, coughed up eight turnovers, too, but didn’t receive any flak for it.

Injury on shooting hand…

Last week, LSU coach Jones revealed that the young forward had been playing the last month or so with a nagging finger injury on his shooting hand. Some reckon that the injury is the primary reason for Simmons not taking enough jump shots. Simmons is taking only 12 shots per game and most of them layups or dunks. In fact, Simmons hasn’t attempted a solitary three-point shot this season.

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Simmons, the consensus No.1 overall pick during June’s NBA Draft, entered Saturday’s game against the Volunteers with mind-boggling stats – 19.3 points, 12 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.9 steals. Not since LeBron James, in 2003, has a potential No. 1 pick garnered so much pre-draft hype and attention.

Should NBA teams worry about Simmons’ reluctance to hit a jump shot? Last week, ESPN First Take discussed if Simmons was overrated (Watch Video Above). After all, the game is in the midst of a revolution led by the Golden State Warriors. Regardless, Ben Simmons is most likely to change the fortunes of a lowly NBA team starting next season.

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