Ben Simmons Ruled Ineligible for Wooden Award: Latest Comments and Reaction

Mike ChiariFeatured Columnist

LSU's Ben Simmons attempts a free throw in the first half against the College of Charleston during an NCAA college basketball game at TD Arena, Monday Nov. 30, 2015, in Charleston, S.C. The College of Charleston went on to win 70-58.  (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Mic Smith/Associated Press

LSU freshman star Ben Simmons' name was notably absent from the list of Wooden Award finalists, and it was revealed Saturday he was deemed ineligible to vie for the award.

According to's Jeff Goodman, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft didn't meet the academic criteria needed to be considered.

Per Goodman, Tigers head coach Johnny Jones confirmed the school was unable to submit Simmons for the ballot: "From what I was told, he didn't meet all of the requirements. He wasn't certified by the school to be on the ballot."

"Individual accolades like those don't satisfy me," Simmons told reporters Monday. "For me to not be in the running for that, I'm not mad."

While LSU has had an up-and-down season with a record of 18-12, Simmons has been every bit as good as advertised, with per-game averages of 19.7 points, 11.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists.

The 6'10" native of Australia has taken college basketball by storm, and Sam Vecenie of CBS Sports doesn't believe the Wooden Award situation will change the way NBA teams perceive him:

The Wooden Award criteria calls for a candidate to have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00 since the start of his enrollment.

Simmons was previously benched for the start of LSU's 81-65 loss to Tennessee last month due to academic issues.

Thanks to LSU's inconsistent nature this season, Simmons likely would have faced an uphill climb in winning the Wooden Award, especially over Oklahoma senior guard Buddy Hield and Michigan State senior guard Denzel Valentine.

Simmons' play down the stretch won't have any impact on the Wooden race, but he still has plenty to play for. The Tigers have work to do to get into the NCAA tournament.


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