Scott Rabalais: Ben Simmons 'perhaps the biggest letdown' in LSU basketball history _lowres

Photo provided by TRACY GLANTZ /The State -- LSU's Ben Simmons (25) and Antonio Blakeney (2) look to the USC fans during the second half of action in the Colonial Life Arena. USC won, 94-83.

After a tough loss Wednesday on the road against South Carolina, LSU's star freshman Ben Simmons could not have been faulted for a bit of self-doubt. No worries there.

Asked by ESPN during a post-game interview about his choice for national player of the year, there was no hesitation:

"Myself," Simmons said. "I'm not going to pick anybody over me. But you know there's a lot of great players out there.

Still, "I don't think anybody's better than me."

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Simmons said leading LSU (15-9, 8-3 SEC) to the NCAA tournament is a top goal, one that took a hit with the 94-83 loss to the Gamecocks, dropping LSU from a slim one-game lead in the Southeastern Conference to a three-way logjam with South Carolina and Kentucky.

Getting to the tournament is "what I came here to do," Simmons said. "I know we can get there."

Other interview highlights:

* On being the person with the ball in pressure situations: "I put myself in that position, working hard every day, trying to be the best player I can be. ... I'm fine with it. It's a blessing and a curse, but I'm happy to be where I am."

* On negative attention from opposing fans: "I'm fine with it, I'm used to it. Used to fans yelling whatever they want to yell about NBA stuff, "overrated" or whatever. I guess it's there time to have a little fun with me."