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.