1-on-1 with The Nation's Top Hoops Signee

TSD publisher Ben Love goes inside the game with LSU signee Ben Simmons, discussing high school titles, the Tigers without Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey, and whether he takes motivation from social media.

TSD publisher Ben Love caught up with LSU basketball signee Ben Simmons after a busy stretch that saw the native Aussie participate in the 2015 McDonald's All American Game in Chicago followed by claiming his third consecutive national title in New York.


Ben Love: Three national championships in a row to cap off your high school career – How do you reflect on that? And was this one any different or sweeter than the others for a particular reason?

Ben Simmons: It’s a great honor to be able to win the national championship three years in a row. But, yeah, I think this one was more special because I’m a senior and I had a responsibility. That was to play good and win a third national championship, and I was able to do that with the team. I think the team has worked really hard. I don’t think we had as much talent this year, but at the same time we had a lot of heart.

BL: With Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey both declaring for the NBA Draft, how do you think that changes the way the team plays next year and does it affect your role individually?

BS: I’m still going to go in there with the same mindset and that’s to win. They’re gone, but that means other guys are just going to have to step up. And that’s just the way it is.

BL: Do you think it means LSU will be a little more perimeter-oriented? Or do you believe the team still has enough inside to play the way it did last year?

BS: Well we have Craig Victor and Elbert Robinson, who is still there. Craig is a really good inside presence. So I think me being able to play point and bring the ball up is a game-changer for a lot of teams.

BL: Do you anticipate that you’ll be one of the primary ball-handlers next year?

BS: Definitely. I think my IQ is high enough to be able to rotate playing point and playing forward. I think it will give a lot of opportunities at fast breaks.

BL: You mentioned Craig Victor. What’s your relationship like with him and how long have you known him?

BS: I played with Craig at adidas Nations probably two years ago now. So I’ve known him long before he committed to LSU. He’s a good guy and a good player. He’ll definitely be one of the leaders on the team.

BL: Kentucky has really been the gold standard in the SEC the last few years. Do you think this LSU team being assembled is the kind that can dethrone Kentucky? And why is it important to try and win the SEC?

BS: To me the goal is just to win. I never have a goal to win certain things. I’m the type of person who just wants to win everything. If Kentucky’s in the way, then they’re in the way. If it’s Texas A&M, then it’s them. It’s just whoever is in the way of us getting to our goal, and that’s everybody in the SEC.

BL: I feel like I’ve seen you respond to people, competitors occasionally on social media. Do you think you’re someone that plays better angry or is it more important with the way you play to be more level-headed and composed?

BS: Sometimes when I respond it’s just kinda funny. (Laughs) You know, I got crossed over the other day against Findlay and it was all over social media. But to me, I wasn’t mad or anything. I don’t really care. It’s just the way the game is played. I fell over, got back up, and I’m a three-time national champion.

Things like that happen. Social media is kinda funny to me. A lot of people say a lot of stuff on social media, but when it comes to face-to-face they won’t say anything because you know they won’t have the guts to say it. To be honest I really don’t look at social media that much.

BL: I understand one of the biggest differences for you over the last two years is having family over in the States, which you didn’t have as a junior. Is that correct and, if so, who all has been with you?

BS: Yes. My mom and dad moved over here, so my mom was able to cook a lot of meals for me. I know I need to eat a lot. So it’s good to get a lot of rest and eat well. That was one of the main things. Then just being able to be at home and not worry about school events happening all the time and knowing I’m not going to be able to get rest. I’ve definitely had a lot more rest and recovery this season.

BL: Do you know yet if your family is going to join you down in Baton Rouge?

BS: Yeah, (LSU assistant coach) David Patrick will be there, my godfather. I guess my parents might come down. I’m not too sure yet. But I think I’ll be fine.

BL: Just for fun – Who do you think wins the national championship tonight?

BS: I don’t know. That’s a tough one. I’ll say Duke because I was a Duke fan growing up.


Check out Scout's video interview with Simmons at the McDonald's All American Game in Chicago, conducted by Director of Basketball Recruiting Evan Daniels.

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