The Wooden Award is college basketball’s most prestigious individual honor, and while there’s an obvious All-American standard to uphold on the court, there are also some basic requirements in the classroom.
LSU star Ben Simmons — a freshman who’s expected to immediately declare for this summer’s NBA draft at the conclusion of the season — has apparently not been living up to the Wooden standard off the court.
ESPN.com‘s Jeff Goodman reports that, due to “academic-related reasons,” Simmons is ineligible for this year’s award.
“From what I was told, he didn’t meet all of the requirements,” LSU coach Johnny Jones told Goodman. “He wasn’t certified by the school to be on the ballot.”
Simmons is currently averaging 19.7 points, 11.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists for the Tigers, who likely need to defeat Kentucky on Saturday afternoon (2 p.m. ET, CBS) or go on a lengthy SEC tournament run to sneak into the NCAA tournament this month.
LSU’s 6-foot-10 freshman is essentially the only reason it’s within striking distance of the big dance, but the trophy cases in Baton Rouge won’t be welcoming a new Wooden Award in 2016.
Here are some of the requirements that Simmons might have run afoul of:
- Candidates must be full-time students in an accredited NCAA college or university.
- Consideration should be given to scholastic achievement and aspirations. All candidates must have a cumulative 2.00 grade point average since enrolling in their current university.
- Candidates must exhibit strength of character, both on and off the court.
When Goodman reached out to LSU assistant — and Simmons’ godfather — David Patrick, the coach informed him that Simmons had a simple reaction to the news.
“All I care about is winning,” Simmons said.