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Why Ben Simmons’ rant about the one-and-done rule will make you appreciate John Calipari (even more)

On Friday night, Showtime will air “One and Done,” a documentary about Ben Simmons, who spent one year at LSU before being drafted first in the 2016 NBA Draft. Yesterday, ESPN published some of Simmons’ comments from that documentary, and, well, Simmons didn’t hold back when it comes to the NCAA.

“The NCAA is really f—ed up,” Simmons said. “Everybody’s making money except the players. We’re the ones waking up early as hell to be the best teams and do everything they want us to do and then the players get nothing. They say education, but if I’m there for a year, I can’t get much education.”

Simmons said he also had to avoid “temptations” from shoe companies, agents, and others in Baton Rouge, who offered him everything from a Bentley to a house or whatever he wanted. Not surprisingly, he also admitted he stopped attending and caring about class in his second semester, despite Johnny Jones’ insistence that he go.

“[Coach] Jones said, ‘We need to make up a punishment if you miss another class,'” Simmons said. “I missed my next class about preparing for better study habits. I’m going to the NBA next season. Why bull—- if it’s not going to help me?”

A lot of what Simmons said is valid — the NCAA really is “f—ed up” for profiting off players, who can’t make a dime off their name ’til they go pro — but it doesn’t shock me one bit that he refused to help LSU out and attend class to help keep their APR scores from plummeting. Besides, the one-and-done rule was the NBA’s call, not the NCAA’s.

We’ve said it a lot, but one thing John Calipari does well is find players who are quality kids, understand the system, and hold up their part of the bargain if they do go pro after one year. The Ben Simmons experiment is yet another reminder of that.


Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

38 Comments for Why Ben Simmons’ rant about the one-and-done rule will make you appreciate John Calipari (even more)

  1. Sentient Third Eye
    10:02 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

    Simmons was definitely a case of us winning by losing.

    • Luether
      8:53 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

      Simmons is the one who “is really f–ed up”…

  2. RealCatsFan
    10:13 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

    That whole situation with Simmons going to LSU stank to high heaven. Didn’t he have a close family friend involved with the LSU program? And he refused all that was offered to him? Yeah, right. And people want to grouse about how Cal supposedly cheats. Hmmm.

  3. Loserville Hater
    10:20 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

    Ben Simmons was a prick then, is a prick now, and will always be a prick. We were much better for not having him in our program. But he would have fit in nicely at Loserville.

  4. Jason in Alabama
    10:22 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

    You know, those intro to Finance, Accounting and Marketing classes probably wouldn’t help someone about to be a millionaire, right?

    I mean, if you are a millionaire and you can’t be a CPA, then why bother to learn to read balance sheet.

    • Mathlete
      10:58 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

      You don’t get to take any of those classes as a freshman though, they’re all 300 level classes (speaking as a UK business alum). There probably *should* be a personal finance class available to incoming freshmen though, it would help a lot of kids to not come out of college up to their eyeballs in debt

    • CPACAT
      11:22 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

      CPAs, Balance Sheets, and KSR in the same place…this must be what heaven looks like…LOL!

    • Sentient Third Eye
      11:49 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

      Just learning how to handle public speaking in a professional manner and think analytically would help any future NBA player. Simmons will at some point regret not learning more when he had the chance.

    • BNClay
      12:17 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

      Mathlete, I don’t know about UK, but at Morehead State I took Personal Finance and Principles of Accounting as a Freshman. Both were super ease but very helpful.

      I wish they would just come up an athlete course track that included personal finance, public relations, into to media, basic business law, that sort of things that would actually help someone pursuing that career as a pro. Even if it was oversees or going into coaching.

    • Mathlete
      1:19 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

      It might have changed since I was there, that’s been more years than I like to admit to myself…

      I agree a pro athlete track would be incredibly useful to provide to our players, preferably with a real major title like Athletics Management or something like that for kids who stay 4 years

  5. secrick
    10:22 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

    These players need to stop crying about not getting anything for playing Basketball or whatever sport. They are there to play a game which by the way is fun. The NCAA is a must, you can’t let players and Coaches do what they want. These players do not need to make money it’s college and they are getting a free Education and for guys like Simmons i guess wanted LSU to pay him for having fun.The NCAA is a must they just need to be a little tougher.

    • runningunnin.454
      10:42 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

      It really didn’t look like Simmons or anybody at LSU had fun last year….that was a bizarre situation. I think he did expect to be paid, and the others resented his attitude.

  6. Piedma Schwartz
    10:28 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

    The easiest solution to let the kids go pro out of high school. That way, everyone wins. If a kid gets drafted outside the guaranteed salary range and ends up not getting signed, that’s his fault, and he can use that training camp money to get an associates degree, or buy drugs or whatever he’d rather do other than going to a university.

    • ukbradstith
      10:35 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

      How does the NBA win by letting in kids right out of high school? They tried that, and for the most part it sucked. The NBA now gets to watch the kids “try out” and make a decision then. It would dumb for the NBA to go back to that model.

    • ClutchCargo
      10:37 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

      That’s a solution in search of a problem, imho. It’s a NBA rule and the NCAA member schools have to deal with it. If a kid doesn’t want to go to college, he doesn’t have to do it.

    • Cousins Fake Tooth
      10:58 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

      Everyone wins? Most players that came out of high school to the NBA were not even in the NBA a few years later. You have a few exceptions, but about 95% of the time it was a bust.

    • KatsKlaws
      11:09 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

      “Or buy drugs?” … you people never cease to amaze me..

    • It was me Stoops the whole time
      11:25 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

      They should be allowed to go out of high school and the NBA should show some common sense by not taking them. All you need is for the NBA to say “Oh wait … most high school kids aren’t ready for this … I’ll take a more mature physically developed player.” Problem solved. You’re not going to declare if you’re not going to get drafted.

      However the year in college gives the NBA a chance to get those kids free mentoring and introduction into the “There are lots of good players around here” reality. Obviously this did not work for Ben Simmons because he is a punk. He may end up great in the NBA but I doubt it.

    • Piedma Schwartz
      1:47 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

      The NBA wins no matter what. The franchises get an extra year of production from superstar players. There are draft busts every year, no matter if its a college player or a foreign player. Nothing changes on that front. The NCAA wins because there are more kids playing ball who actually want to be there, and less scholarships wasted on those who don’t. The superstar kids who don’t want to go to college win, because they can now get paid without the risk of an injury or let down in college. The kids who entered the draft and didn’t get drafted win because they can still go play overseas. It’s really not that hard of a concept to grasp.

  7. ClutchCargo
    10:33 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

    You hear recruits say it all the time about Cal, but this story and the fact that Cal never seems to end up with this type are proof positive that he keeps it real with them. If this doesn’t nudge Shaq’s son away from LSU and toward UK, nothing will.

    • Luether
      8:55 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

      I’ve seen Shaq’s son play. He’s good but not that good…

  8. Mathlete
    11:03 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

    The NBA isn’t going to change their draft rules, so we’ll see one-and-done until the NCAA does something about it.

    That said, what’s the NCAA going to do if a kid comes in for a year and leaves? They have zero jurisdiction or enforcement ability outside of their member schools, so they couldn’t do much more than make schools bill the players who leave after a year for their scholarship and related costs.

  9. Jiminy Crickets
    11:08 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

    1. Go play international ball, get paid and take your chances the first year out. NO ONE makes you go to college, it just happens to be the best way to get exposure. Your PAY as a OAD, is getting exposed, being surrounded by scouts every game, and signing multi-million dollar contracts at the age of 19.

    2. the OAD done rule is not a NCAA thing, its a NBA rule. Most (including Cal) would love to see it go to 2-year requirement. not only is he an a$$, he is grossly misinformed.

    3. not to wish injury on anyone, but I almost hope he loses the ability to play, has to get a “real” job, and has to pay for college tuition for either himself or his future children. Maybe then he will realize how much he was “getting paid”. (I do not want harm, just some form of reality dose)

    4. Go CATS

  10. BigBlue1976
    11:33 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

    One big problem I see here is he saw no value in going to class for even just one year. All he saw was wasting his time until he could get paid. How about at least getting a jump on some college? Maybe one day down the road you could finish your degree with some of that money you earned in the NBA before it runs out. Take responsibility for yourself and stop blaming other people for your problems. The lack of foresight from some of these kids today is astonishing. There is literally nobody in their life who can offer good advice.

  11. loservilletard
    11:40 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

    he will join the long list of people who are broke 3 years after his last nba pay check.

  12. Sentient Third Eye
    11:52 am November 2, 2016 Permalink

    Several years back Cal talked in passing that he wished there was a two-year degree designed specifically to prepare future pros. Preparing players to handle their money, the press, etc. His staff basically tries to emulate that sort of thing as best they can, and it pays off for the kids.

    • theWilkman
      12:15 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

      I wrote my response below before refreshing the page and seeing your comment. I completely agree. Even a 1-year crash course would be a huge boon. The biggest issue is that some of the classes they need have prerequisites.

  13. FinnaGoHAM
    12:11 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

    What Cal has apparently done with his players, and what Johnnie Jones obviously didn’t do with Ben Simmons (or BS, as I will call him), is show him the value of going to class, being dedicated to improving himself in some way other than sports. Showing dedication and discipline. You know all those times we’ve seen here on KSR pictures and videos of almost every Kentucky player giving back to the community, using their name and status to do something good for the community? I doubt seriously you can find one instance of BS doing that for strictly selfless reasons. Unfortunately at some point in his life, reality is gonna b1tch-slap him and he won’t be prepared to handle it.

    • Mathlete
      12:14 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

      It seems like Cal’s players, at least for the most part, already have that sense of honor and discipline before they get here. Part of that is probably because those traits are required to be elite at anything, but another part has to be Cal strategically recruiting that kind of player deliberately. That’s a big part of why it doesn’t bother me when we don’t get a player. As Cal tells them all the time, “Kentucky’s not for everyone.”

  14. theWilkman
    12:13 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

    I’ve always thought there should be a Professional Athlete degree program. Let them come in that first year and learn about personal finance, basic investing principles, taxes, contract negotiations, etc. How would that not help? Most schools couldn’t swing it but UK for basketball, Alabama for football… it would be a win-win.

    • J-Dub421
      12:46 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

      Not just that, but public speaking training, media relations, branding and marketing, etc. Of course UK does a pretty good job with these things already, but our extensive media training seems to be the exception and not the rule.

    • za
      1:45 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

      I’ll be the first to enroll.

  15. EdC
    12:46 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

    I have been saying for decades that players should at least get some money in recognition that they are working every minute they practice and play. That doesn’t mean getting rich but when you are in college you need some money that is outside of room, board and books. With that said, nobody is forcing them to play in the NCAA. Kids outside of the US especially have other options if they are good enough. If they do choose to do it then they made their choice so stop whining about it and make the most of it.

    This bag of vinegar and oil had an option to go to a school that would do far more outside of the classroom to prepare him for life but he chose LSU. Boo hoo.

    • J-Dub421
      12:59 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

      The Power 5 conference schools do give them a “cost of living/attendance” stipend now, and have for a few years. It’s not a lot and varies from school to school, but they do get a little money.

    • Piedma Schwartz
      1:55 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

      The present value of a college degree is easily over a million dollars. They don’t need a dollar more, especially when tuition increases exponentially and normal kids & their parents have to foot the bill.

  16. EdC
    12:46 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

    sorry meant vinegar and water 🙂 not vinegar and oil

  17. ukfaningatorland
    1:59 pm November 2, 2016 Permalink

    Simmons has no room to complain, the decision to attend an NCAA school was his and his alone to make. Nobody in the NBA or NCAA conspired or forced him to go to an NCAA school. If he wanted play for pay and to eliminate his amateur status he could have gone to Europe, China, Mexico, any international league, and if he was good enough paid for play for a year, or two, then entered the draft. Simmons benefited not only from the availability of an education that could have helped him in later life, but from exposure by playing D1 ball in the NCAA on national TV, weight rooms, trainers, rehabilitation, travel experience, all the things an NBA player needs to experience, and it helped him on draft day. Simmons has no room to complain, everything that happened was HIS CHOICE. The NBA rule on one and done is clear, it’s the NBA’s rule, not the NCAA, and it doesn’t say you have to attend a university and no where else. You can choose to sit out, go overseas OR play in the NCAA for a year.