After a 20-20 performance for the Louisiana State University Tigers (LSU) against Marquette today, we check in with Ben Simmons four games into his first college season.
Simmons has lived up to the extensive hype that surrounded his college debut, averaging a double-double of 19.3 points and 14.5 rebounds with 5.3 assists.
At 208cm and 102kg, the forward has the speed and ball-handling skills to run the floor as point guard as well as the defensive prowess to patrol the rim in defence.
In front of the largest crowd for an LSU college game in over 20 years, Simmons made his debut for the Tigers with a double-double (11 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and two blocks) as LSU won 81-70.
His passing ability was on show as his first career assist at college level was a behind the back pass in transition while his athleticism was evident with a put-back slam dunk.
In his second game, Simmons had team-highs of 22 points (11-17 shooting) and nine rebounds to go along with six assists and four steals as LSU streaked past Kennesaw State.
Sealing a position under the rim, his opponents had no answer for Simmons whose unselfishness was also showcased as he regularly found wide open team mates who could have increased his assist tally with even better shooting.
The Australian then became the first SEC freshman to collect at least 20 points and 15 rebounds since 2013/14 when he finished with 23 points (on 9-14 shooting), 16 boards and three assists in a third-straight win for LSU against South Alabama.
The Tigers’ streak came to an end earlier today but it was no fault of Simmons who finished with 21 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists in a one-point loss.
He became the eighth LSU player since 1973-74 to record a 20-20 game and the fifth Major Conference player in the past 20 years to reach a 20-20 with at least five assists, knocking down 6-14 from the field and 9-11 from the free-throw line.
The forward proved unstoppable on several coast-to-coast layups but was unable to carry his side over the line despite putting them ahead for the first time with 21 seconds to play.
Simmons will hit the court again tomorrow when LSU plays the second night of a back-to-back against Arizona State. Stay tuned next week for a recap of the Centre of Excellence athletes currently playing college.