Patrick excited to coach godson Ben Simmons

LSU assistant David Patrick gives an in-depth look at his godson Ben Simmons through the years, from his growth in the game as a youth to where Simmons is now that he's on campus amongst his Tiger teammates.

On Wednesday TSD publisher Ben Love went one-on-one with LSU basketball assistant David Patrick on "Bumper to Bumper Sports" on 103.7 FM (KLWB) in Lafayette.

The two began the interview talking about NBA Finals man of the moment Matthew Dellavedova, who Patrick recruited to St. Mary's at the end of the 2000s decade, before continuing on to discussion of Tiger signee Ben Simmons, Patrick's godson.

According to Patrick, set to begin his fourth season under Johnny Jones, Simmons hit his stride on the court around age 16 in his native Australia.

"Probably when he was about 16," Patrick answered on when he knew Simmons was a special athlete. "He was really good when he was 12 and then he went through a growth spurt. When he was about 14 or 15, he was a little bit uncoordinated because he was so tall and he was trying to get his mind to catch up with his body. But when he was about 16 years old, I saw him play and he had about 10 dunks. That's not normal for a 16-year-old, and on top of it he could handle the ball like a point guard.

"At that point in time his parents and everyone around him thought he had a good chance to be a really good college player. Nobody thought pro because you don't like to throw those kinds of remarks out there for a kid that age. We really thought he had a chance to be another Patrick Mills or another Dellavedova, but obviously he's morphed into something that's got the potential to be a little better than that."

Simmons, along with fellow signees Antonio Blakeney and Brandon Sampson, have all descended upon LSU's campus, reporting for team workouts and classes that began on Monday.

Patrick said the trio has wasted no time getting to work, and early feedback from people in attendance at open court has been nothing but positive.

"They got to school Sunday and we started 6 a.m. workouts on Monday. It's been really good," explained Patrick. "Those three have made an impact with what they bring to the table athletically. It's something we haven't seen in such a young group during my time here. They have some unique athletic ability, all three of them. There's a reason why two of those guys, Antonio and Ben, are on NBA draft boards because of what they bring to the table from an athletic standpoint.

"Obviously we're not allowed to watch them play in open gym for now, but from the reports we've got from the pros that are in town, like Marcus Thornton, they say those guys are going to be something to deal with. So we're excited."

One area that doesn't concern Patrick is Simmons' ability to fit into the team concept despite being such a highly regarded player as a freshman.

"His personality, per se, he doesn't act like an alpha dog. Obviously we had Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin, which we still wish we could have. It might've been a little bit more testy (if they'd come back), but the fact that we don't have guys competing as much at that position makes that transition a little easier," Patrick continued. "But the guys in our program are team guys - Tim Quarterman, Keith Hornsby, Josh Gray, Jalyn Patterson. They've all been around Ben and Antonio and Brandon Sampson."

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