Ask any fan of collegiate varsity sports what he or she thinks of Louisiana State University (LSU) and the answer is likely to be “great football program.” That’s because this school is famous for its success on the gridiron.
On the other hand, Louisiana State University has never enjoyed consistent success “on the hardwood.” Its men’s varsity basketball program has been “middle of the road,” occasionally good and frequently mediocre.
That may be changing in the upcoming 2015-2016 Season. The team that plays its home games in Baton Rouge, Louisiana shocked the college basketball world by landing the top recruit in the sport. His name is Ben Simmons. He is a native of Melbourne, Australia and he has the tools to turn LSU into a top tier team this year.
The son of an American who migrated to Australia shortly after he was born and the godson of Head Coach Dave Patrick (his dad’s best friend), Ben Simmons is a 6’ 9” power forward with a great and desirable skill set. In fact, Simmons can “run the floor” tirelessly and with great speed. He also possesses the vision of a point guard which enables him to set up teammates for easy scores. Those skills and his “basketball IQ” have scouts raving about him and predicting that he will one day become a superstar in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
In fact, scouts believe that Simmons will only play one year at Louisiana State University before leaving the school to become a professional basketball player. These same analysts are virtually guaranteeing that the highly-skilled power forward will be a “top two” draft pick.
That is high praise for someone who has yet to “take the floor” for LSU in a regular season game. Nevertheless, Ben Simmons was the Number One recruit in all of college basketball and expectations for him are literally “through the roof.
Ben Simmons has already been named a Pre-Season All-American by CBS Sports and LSU fans are excited and anxious to see their freshman superstar in action. They are also likely to enjoy the on-floor exploits of McDonald’s All-American high school star, and a buddy of Ben Simmons, Antonio Blakeney. Simmons convinced this potential future NBA star to sign with LSU. Together, these two great, young players have brought great expectations to a basketball program that has been unsuccessful for years. When you add the team’s third All-American recruit, St. Johns University transfer Brandon Sampson, there appears to be no limit to what this squad can achieve in the 2015-2016 Season.
The March Madness tournament seems to be part of the LSU basketball team’s future. Perhaps equally important to the basketball program and to the team’s loyal fans, the LSU Tigers may even contend for the championship of the Southeastern Conference (SEC).
That will not be easy, but if it happens, Louisiana State University’s basketball program would get the kind of boost that will help it lure the nation’s top high school basketball players.
Courtesy of Nola.com