June 23, 2016
BATON ROUGE, La.- LSU All-America point-forward Ben Simmons realized his dream Thursday night when National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver called his name at the Barclays Center as the first pick of the 2016 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Simmons became the second LSU men’s basketball player picked No. 1 in the NBA draft joining Shaquille O’Neal who was picked first in the 1992 draft by the Orlando Magic.
Simmons is the eighth LSU athlete to be pick No. 1 in any of the major professional leagues in football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball.
Simmons, in his one-and-done freshman season, was the first player in Southeastern Conference history to finish in the top five in the league in points, rebounds and assists. The native of Melbourne, Australia averaged 19.2 points per game, 11.8 rebounds per game and 4.97 assists. He also averaged 1.97 steals and shot 56 percent from the free throw line.
Simmons won the Wayman Tisdale Award as national Freshman of the Year and was a first-team All-America, making him the ninth first-team All-America in LSU men’s basketball history.
Coach Johnny Jones and teammates Keith Hornsby and Darcy Malone were among those making the trip to New York to share in the draft night with the No. 1 pick.
It marked the first time Philadelphia had the first pick in the NBA Draft for the first time since choosing Allen Iverson with the top selection in 1996.
Follow below for live updates from the NBA Draft.
Ben Simmons in ESPN Interview after selection at No. 1 – “It’s amazing. I’m happy the Sixers chose me. I’ve been working so hard to get to this point. It’s a great city. I’m looking forward to getting to Philly.
When asked about his confidence when Philly was the only team he worked out for – “It feels good. I feel relaxed and I’m comfortable with the system. Great coaches. Great people. Great young team and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Dave Simmons, who played for 76ers Coach Brett Brown in 1989 in Australia. Asked about what advice he would give his son regarding Coach Brown – “I think Coach Brown is a very passionate coach and loves the sport and is very detailed. So if Ben just follows his lead, I think he’ll do just fine.”
Asked about when he knew he could be an NBA player – “Well we’ve talked about this all the time and maybe not until the last couple of years as a lot of hurdles to jump and you have to maintain whatever the position you have and Ben done a fantastic job of maintaining that No. 1 ranking for the most few years.”