Since Ben Simmons broke out at the Pangos All-American camp in the summer of 2012, the Australia native has been one of the most sought-after prospects in the class of 2015. Duke, Kansas, North Carolina and others were all hotly pursuing Simmons.
On Monday morning, however, Simmons ended his recruitment – by committing to LSU.
“I know a lot of people will be struck by me deciding to go to LSU, but that's where I felt most comfortable,” Simmons told ESPN.com. “I feel I can progress a lot there, and I feel blessed to have offers from all those schools.”
Simmons, a 6-foot-9 small forward who now plays at Montverde Academy (Fla.), is ranked No. 6 in the 247Sports Composite for the junior class. He decided in January to leave Australia to play at Montverde, and has continued to turn heads. With a versatile skill set and great athleticism, Simmons is a matchup problem for most opponents. He runs the floor extremely well and can finish well at the rim, especially in transition.
He's the son of Dave Simmons, who attended Oklahoma City University before playing professional basketball in Melbourne. And that's where the LSU connection comes in: while over in Australia, Dave Simmons played with David Patrick – who is Ben Simmons' godfather. More importantly, Patrick is an assistant coach at LSU. It gave the Tigers an important hook for Simmons, and it ended up making the difference.
Interesting side note to add to the Simmons circle: as Scout.com's LSU affiliate pointed out, Simmons' brother, Liam Tribe-Simmons, was recently hired as an assistant coach at Nicholls State – where Patrick had his first college job.
Simmons was on LSU's campus this weekend, and his high school teammate Jalyn Patterson committed to the Tigers on Sunday.