Ben Simmons named USA Today National Freshman of the Year


BATON ROUGE – LSU’s Ben Simmons earned his first national post-season award on Tuesday when USA Today when their panel of writers named him the 2016 National Freshman of the Year.

Writer Nicole Auerbach, in her article announcing the selection wrote: “He was consistently dazzling, whether or not it was him taking the ball coast-to-coast and dunking, or a jaw-dropping pass to a teammate.

“Simmons’ skill set is a product of his unique basketball upbringing. He first learned the game as a child in Australia, where it’s taught more as a team-first, pass-heavy game in which players are assigned specific roles. Simmons learned to take over games here in the United States during AAU tournaments and at Montverde Academy. The result? A perfect blend of a player who can play unselfishly and selfishly when need be. His versatility is his greatest strength.”

The native of Melbourne has averaged 19.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game with a nation’s best six games of 20-10-5. He leads all Division I freshman with his 11.9 rebounds average with his sixth in the NCAA and he is third among all freshman in scoring.

He is trying to become the first player in the last 20 seasons to average at least 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game. His seven games of 15-10-5 this year are more than any SEC player in the last 20 season. He has 22 double doubles this year and is ranked fifth in the nation in that category.

LSU, Simmons and his teammates will be back in action on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament in Nashville. LSU will play at approximately 2:15 p.m. CT against the winner of Thursday game with Vanderbilt and the winner of the Wednesday Auburn-Tennessee game. The contest will be televised on the SEC Network and broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network.

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