Some of the most jaw-dropping moments of the opening week of the college basketball season have come when Ben Simmons had the ball in his hands in the open floor.
The 6-foot-9 LSU freshman makes plays other players his size can't even fathom attempting, from no-look bounce passes, to behind-the-back dribbles, to pin-point lobs.
In three victories over Kennesaw State, McNeese State and South Alabama, Simmons has averaged 18.7 points, 12.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists. Even more impressive, everything Simmons has done appears to be virtually effortless, as though the favorite to be selected No. 1 overall next June is coasting until he faces better competition.
LSU won't face a Top 25 opponent until SEC play begins in January, but the Tigers will at least square off against two major-conference opponents next week when they face Marquette and either Arizona State or NC State at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn. In the meantime, here are Simmons' seven most memorable highlights from his first week in college basketball.
1. This is the rare highlight that showcases Simmons' skill at both ends of the floor. First he blocks a 3-point attempt softly enough to keep it in bounds. Then he sprints down court, catches a bullet pass one-handed and somehow throws a perfect underhand lob pass to teammate Tim Quarterman all in one motion for the alley-oop dunk.
2. I have no idea if Quarterman intended this to be a shot or if it was actually an off-target lob pass, but Simmons turned it into an alley-oop nonetheless. Showing tremendous coordination, he corrals the ball off the back rim with his non-dominant hand and flushes it for a nice follow dunk.
3. Less than three minutes into his debut, Simmons showed off his unselfishness, creativity and flair in transition. Simmons calls for an outlet pass, zooms up court and feeds Quarterman with a pinpoint behind-the-back bounce pass. How many 6-foot-9 freshmen can do that?
4. Another LSU fast break, another YouTube-worthy Simmons assist. On this occasion, he dribbles behind his back to shed one defender at mid-court, then feeds fellow freshman Brandon Sampson with a gorgeous no-look bounce pass.
5. Every once in a while, a shifty NFL running back will get in the open field and juke an opposing defender out of his cleats. South Alabama forward Georgi Boyanov now knows what that feels like. Simmons put on a move in the open floor Thursday night that left him spinning around like a top.
6. This clip offers proof Simmons' vision can be a weapon even when he's not in the open floor. When the McNeese State defense begins to collapse on him, he whips a diagonal pass to an open shooter who buries a 3-pointer.
7. We'll end the way we started — with a clip that displays Simmons' impact on both defense and offense. First he strips Kennesaw State's Kyle Clarke. Then he finishes the play with an emphatic one-handed slam.
(Thanks for the video, ReBorn HD)
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