Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Johnson and Alabama prepare to slow down Ben Simmons


Some call him the best player in college right now others say he’s the future No. 1 pick in next year’s draft and still others will insist that he’s so much more than that.

LSU’s Ben Simmons is already drawing comparisons to players like Lebron James and other basketball greats. Coach Avery Johnson said those comparisons aren’t fair to Simmons who is charting his own course, but Johnson won’t deny Simmons is a special talent.

“When he’s playing against other teams he’s fun to watch,” Johnson said. “From 1 0’clock to 3 tomorrow it’s not going to be very fun to watch him compete against us.”

Simmons is currently averaging 19.4 points and 12.8 rebounds a game. He finished with a double-double in six of LSU’s last seven games with the lone exception being a Jan. 13 game against Ole Miss.

On Saturday, Alabama will attempt to limit Simmons as much as possible. A task Johnson knows will not be so simple.

“I think if you give him the same defender the entire game with the same defensive strategy he tends to pick that apart,” Johnson said. “I just think its multiple guys trying to give him multiple looks in an isolation situation.”

One of the players that could see some time against Simmons is Alabama’s Riley Norris. If the opportunity presents itself Norris will embrace it.

“I mean you want to prove yourself, just as a competitor you want to go up against the best,” Norris said. “I think that’s what you do every night in the SEC.”

If Norris and his teammates do manage to limit the looks Simmons gets at the basket LSU has plenty of other playmakers that could hurt Alabama if given the chance.

“[Tim Quarterman] and then Keith Hornsby can just really shoot it from downtown so we need to find both of them and really run them off the 3-point line,” Norris said.

Hornsby finished with double digit points in eight of the 11 games he saw the court, and Quarterman scored double digit points in three of LSU’s six SEC games including a 21-point 10-rebound performance against then-No. 9 Kentucky.

Johnson said the Tigers transition quickly and remind him of Kentucky in the regard. If Alabama wants the outcome to be different when LSU comes to town Johnson will likely need his team to play disciplined and with plenty of energy.

“Our guys know who Ben Simmons is,” Johnson said. “I don’t think when we play against players like this I have to bring out extra, extra, extra motivational tools.” 

More to Discover