LSU forward Ben Simmons, as widely predicted, was selected first overall in the 2016 NBA Draft tonight by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Simmons, the 2016 SEC Freshman of the Year and a first-team All-SEC selection this past season, has reset a number of milestones by being drafted first overall. He is the just the 5th player in SEC history to be picked #1 by the NBA and he’s the first Tiger to be taken first overall since Shaquille O’Neal in 1992. Simmons is the 15th LSU basketball player to be drafted in the first round, joining legends like Shaq, Stromile Swift, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Bob Pettit, Joe Dean, and Maravich. He also the joins an elite group as the eighth LSU athlete in any sport to ever be drafted first overall by a professional league.
The 6-10 Simmons arrived at LSU as the No. 1 overall player in the 2015 recruiting class, and while the 2015-16 Tigers failed to meet expectations as a team, he more than met the hype, averaging 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2 steals per game. Despite questions about his jump shot, Simmons is a smooth, unselfish player that can get to the rim and create opportunities for other players as a passer.
He’ll join a Sixers front court that already includes near-seven-footers like Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor.