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.
Tigers in the NBA Draft
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.
“It’s been a great experience to coach such a special player and see his dreams fulfilled on draft night being selected No. 1. I’m excited for Ben and his wonderful family along with our LSU program and great fans. The Philadelphia 76ers are in for a real treat.”