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LSU forward Simmons named preseason All-American by

The writers, columnists and analysts at have named LSU freshman forward Ben Simmons a first-team pick on its preseason All-America team.

Columnist Gary Parrish noted that none of the players on the All-American team  named after the 2014-15 season return this year, so the criteria included picking players by position — not just the five best players in the country.

“In other words, we decided, each group of five had to be a group that could theoretically take a court together,” Parrish wrote.

Simmons is joined on the CBSSports’ All-American team by guards Kris Dunn of Providence and Buddy Hield of Oklahoma, and forwards Kyle Wiltjer of Gonzaga and Skal Labissiere of Kentucky.

Wiltjer was tabbed as the preseason player of the year.

Of Simmons, Parish wrote: ”Simmons is a uniquely talented prospect who projects as a top-five pick in the NBA draft. The 6-foot-10 forward should be a star in what will likely be his only season of college basketball. He averaged 20.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 3.6 steals and 2.2 blocks during LSU’s five-game tour of Australia this preseason.”

Simmons is expected to rejoin the Tigers’ preseason workouts any day now after the coaching staff held him out of practice the first couple of days because of a sore leg.


LSU guard Shortess named Rucks Fellow

LSU basketball player Henry Shortess has been named as one of the 2015-16 inductees into the “Society of Rucks Fellows” by the E. J. Ourso College of Business for his academic achievements in the college.

Shortess, a walk-on guard, is beginning his third year with the LSU program. He was selected to the SEC Academic Honor Roll this past year and at LSU’s football game with Auburn was honored on the field as one of the student-athletes recognized for a 3.0 GPA.

Ten students are recognized each year as Rucks Fellows, thanks to a gift from William and Catherine Rucks. Selected by the faculty, Rucks Fellows represent the highest level of academic achievement among senior management majors.

To qualify for recognition as a Rucks Fellow, a senior management major in any of the department’s concentrations — management, entrepreneurship, or human resources — must have a grade point average in the top 10 of all graduating seniors in the management curriculum.

“Being named a Rucks Fellow is an honor only a select group of people enjoy,” said Richard White Jr., dean of the Ourso College of Business. “To accomplish such a thing as not only a student, but a student-athlete, is a remarkable feat.”

Shortess is a Baton Rouge native and graduate of University High, where he was a member of the National Honor Society.



LSU program to open practice sessions for NBA scouts

The LSU men’s basketball program will hold a pair of open practice sessions for NBA scouts and team officials during the Tigers’ preseason workouts for the upcoming season.

The Tigers will take part  in what amounts to an NBA combine on Oct. 13 and 14, about a week after the team begins full-scale workouts for the regular season that begins Nov. 13 against McNeese State.

With at least three players who are already being projected to go in the first round of the NBA draft next June — forward Ben Simmons and guards Tim Quarterman and Antonio Blakeney — LSU coach Johnny Jones decided to bring all the scouts in at one time to get a look at them.

Guards Keith Hornsby and Josh Gray, both seniors, will also be eligible for the NBA draft.



LSU freshman Simmons on list of most exciting players to watch in 2015-16

LSU freshman forward Ben Simmons has garnered one of the spots on the Bleacher Report’s list of most exciting players for the 2015-16 basketball season.

Bleacher Report featured columnist Brian Pedersen says the 20-player list was put together to include “some of the flashiest and most athletic players set to hit the hard court this season.”

According to the Website, the list puts an emphasis on animation, enthusiasm and vigor, which may or may not come from the game’s best players.

“We’ve picked out the game’s most exhilarating players, the ones best known for big dunks, flashy ball-handling and streaky shooting.”

Also included on the list are UL-Lafayette’s Shawn Long, Northwestern State’s Jalan West and Baylor’s Rico Gathers, a Louisiana native and graduate of Riverside Academy in Reserve.

LSU football-basketball combined programs ranked No. 1 by ESPN writer

The combined LSU football and basketball programs rank at the top of a list compiled by ESPN staff writer C.L. Young in advance of the 2015-16 school year.

Young notes that the term “football school” and “basketball schools don’t really mix, making it difficult for universities to be relevant in the same academic year. Yet, he notes that it’s not impossible.

So he ranked the top five schools with the best football and best basketball programs, putting LSU at the top of the list of a post that featured photos of Tigers’ football star Leonard Fournette and freshman basketball player Ben Simmons.

In ranking LSU first, Young said, “There arguably won’t be an individual combination on any campus better than sophomore running back Leonard Fournette and freshman forward Ben Simmons.

“Fournette lived up to the impossible hype that preceded him to campus by setting a school freshman rushing record with 1,034 yards. Simmons also faces elevated expectations — he’s being pegged as the possible No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft — and if he comes close to that, LSU could return to its first Final Four since 2006.

“The football team is ranked 14th and ESPN College GameDay analysts Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit both predicted LSU to win the SEC, while Corso even picked the Tigers to win the College Football Playoff.”

The rest of Young’s top five includes Villanova, Oklahoma, Michigan State and Baylor.

LSU and Simmons will take on the Oklahoma basketball team in the Southeastern Conference/Big 12 Challenge on Jan. 30 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

LSU freshman Ben Simmons tabbed preseason All-American

LSU freshman Ben Simmons is featured on the cover of the Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook as one of five preseason All-America picks for the upcoming season.

The yearbook, which is celebrating its 35th season, has two Southeastern Conference players on the All-America team for the first time as Simmons is joined by Kentucky freshman Skal Labissiere.

The other players named to the preseason All-America team, which earned them a spot on the cover of the Blue Ribbon yearbook as well, are Virginia senior Malcolm Brogdon, Iowa State senior Georges Niang, and Providence junior Kris Dunn.

LSU to face Oklahoma in SEC/Big 12 Challenge on ESPN

The Southeastern Conference and Big 12 Conference jointly announced Wednesday tip times for seven of the 10 games to be played in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge set for Saturday, Jan. 30.

The LSU-Oklahoma game, which will be played in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, is one of the three that don’t have an exact start time. The others are the Kentucky-Kansas and Iowa State-Texas A&M matchups.

All three of those games will be televised by ESPN. The conferences announced they will start no earlier than 1 p.m. and no later than 6 p.m. CST, although it’s likely Kentucky and Kansas will meet in the primetime slot.

Here is the entire lineup (All Times CST):

Vanderbilt at Texas, 11a.m. (ESPN/ESPN2)

West Virginia at Florida, 11a.m. (ESPN/ESPN2)

Tennessee at TCU, 1 p.m. (ESPN2)

Ole Miss at Kansas State, 1 p.m. (ESPNU)

Texas Tech at Arkansas, 3 p.m. (ESPNU)

Georgia at Baylor, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)

Oklahoma State at Auburn, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)

Kentucky at Kansas, TBA* (ESPN)

Oklahoma at LSU, TBA* (ESPN)

Iowa State at Texas A&M, TBA* (ESPN)

* No earlier than 1 p.m., no later than 6 p.m.

LSU forward Simmons heads’s list of impact freshmen

It should come as no surprise, but LSU forward Ben Simmons is the headliner on the top 10 list of high-impact freshmen for the upcoming season by’s David Gardner.

The 6-foot-10 Simmons, whom Gardner identified as the most college-ready player in this year’s crop of first-year players, claimed the top spot over Kentucky center Skal Labissiere.

Gardner noted that Labissiere, a 7-footer, is pushing Simmons as the top pick in the 2016 NBA draft. But Simmons apparently got the nod for No. 1 on Gardner’s list because of he played at Montverde (Fla.) and is the son of former Australian professional basketball star Dave Simmons.

While the Tigers lost All-Southeastern Conference forwards Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey to the NBA draft, Gardner expects Simmons to form another strong 1-2 duo with freshman guard Antonio Blakeney.

“He’ll produce eye-popping numbers,” Gardner wrote, “but (Simmons’) biggest challenge will be guiding LSU deep into the NCAA tournament.”

Labissiere ranked second on Gardner’s list, which had a total of four SEC players among the top six.

Mississippi State guard Malik Newman, who was heavily-recruited by LSU, took the third spot with Kentucky guard Jamal Murray coming in sixth.

LSU coach Johnny Jones says Josh Gray will miss one game

Back from his team’s 13-day exhibition tour of Australia, LSU basketball coach Johnny Jones said Tuesday that guard Josh Gray will likely miss only one game for playing in an unsanctioned basketball game.

Speaking on 104.5 ESPN Baton Rouge, Jones, who returned to campus with his team late Sunday night, said Gray will probably miss the regular-season opener against McNeese State on Nov. 13.

Jones announced on Aug. 10, the day before the Tigers departed for Australia, Gray would not be allowed to accompany the team after participating in an unsanctioned game before checking with LSU compliance.

At the time, Jones said LSU compliance was continuing its investigation and he would know more when he returned from the trip.

“As far as the NCAA is concerned, our compliance people did a good job jumping on top of it right away,” Jones said Tuesday. “What Josh is going to have to miss is one regular-season game … possibly our first game against McNeese State. That’s a strong possibility for us.

“Then, he would have to deal with the other consequences later on in terms of his team and teammates and the discipline we’ll put forward toward him. But we’re hopeful (it’s) lesson learned for and from Josh, and he’ll continue to grow as a person and make better decisions down the line.”

Jones is scheduled to meet with media on Wednesday to wrap up the Australia trip on which the Tigers won three of five games against professional teams.

Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.

LSU to play in ESPN Tipoff Marathon for third straight year

Via Twitter @LSUBasketball, the Tigers will play in the ESPN Tipoff Marathon, which is set for Nov. 16-17, for the third year in a row.

LSU will host Kennesaw State on Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. CST, according to an announcement by ESPN. The Tigers played at UMass in the 2013 Marathon and hosted Texas Tech last November.

LSU will receive more scheduling news Wednesday at 6 p.m. when the Southeastern Conference slate for all 14 men’s teams are revealed on the SEC Network.