LSU basketball coach Johnny Jones adamantly defended his freshman star after Ben Simmons was benched for the start of Saturday’s loss to Tennessee for academic reasons.
Simmons’ absence came at quite possibly the worst time imaginable, as LSU is desperately trying to preserve its NCAA Tournament life. The Tigers were defeated by a Volunteers squad without its leading scorer, Kevin Punter, and are now listed on the outside looking in of the tournament field.
Simmons could be the eventual No. 1 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft in a few months, but Jones dismissed any speculation about Simmons’ motivation during Monday’s press conference.
“He’s all in,” Simmons said, according to Tiger Rag’s Cody Worsham. “He’s bought in. He wants to do the things required of him and expected of him. He’s 10 toes in.”
As for Simmons’ academic mishap, Jones said the versatile forward has learned from his mistake.
“He understands the mistake he’s made, dealt with the consequences and moved on,” Jones said according to Worsham.