NASHVILLE — You won’t catch Ben Simmons looking ahead to anything NBA-related this weekend. The future lottery pick is mum when it comes to the pros, even if the questions have nothing to do with his future.
“Do you ever watch the NBA?” he was asked.
“Sometimes at night.”
Any favorite teams or players?
The 6-foot-10 phenom, however, is more than happy to discuss his squad at LSU, which defeated Tennessee in its opening game at the SEC tournament.
On Friday, his Tigers prevailed despite Simmons (15 points and 8 rebounds) spending more than 15 first-half minutes on the bench while in foul trouble.
“That’s how (LSU’s Johnny Jones) coaches,” Simmons told SEC Country. “He believes if I was to get that third one, then I’d have to play kind of passive and get back a little bit. For me, as soon as I got that second one, I knew, but I was just trying to stay focused and locked into the game.”
Every win in Nashville is huge for LSU’s NCAA tournament hopes, but Simmons doesn’t feel like leaving the Tigers’ fate in the hands of a committee.
“I just want to win the SEC tournament,” he said. “So I’m not worried about who we have to watch to lose or whatever it is. My goal is just to win.”
That’s about as far ahead — two days — as Simmons admits to thinking.
“I try and focus on the present,” he said. “Right now, it’s getting back to the hotel and focusing on the scouting report.”
A large NBA signing bonus appears imminent for America’s most talented 19-year-old, who has averaged 19.6 points, 11.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game while putting on a season-long show for professional scouts.
As for as who he polls for advice, he’s keeping it simple for now.
“I talk to my parents a lot,” Simmons said. “LeBron. But that’s about it.”
What’s next: LSU faces No. 1 seed Texas A&M in the tournament semifinals at 1 p.m. ET Saturday (ESPN)