From LSU with a swoosh: Ben Simmons reportedly signs multimillion-dollar Nike shoe deal _lowres

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- LSU forward Ben Simmons (25) drives past Texas A&M center Tonny Trocha-Morelos (10) during the first half, Saturday, February 13, 2016, at LSU's PMAC in Baton Rouge, La.

LSU freshman Ben Simmons is a finalist for two national awards, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association announced Monday.

Simmons is one of 11 players up for the Oscar Robertson Trophy as the national player of the year, and he is one of five finalists for the Wayman Tisdale Award, which goes to the nation’s top freshman.

Simmons, who leads LSU in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocked shots and steals, is the only player to make both USBWA lists. Only two other Southeastern Conference players are on the two lists: Kentucky’s Tyler Ulis joins Simmons on the Oscar Robertson list, and Simmons will vie with UK freshman Jamal Murray for the Wayman Tisdale Award.

Members of the USBWA, which is made up of more than 900 sports journalists covering college basketball for newspapers, magazines and websites, vote on the awards. They will be presented April 11 at the College Basketball Awards gala and dinner in Oklahoma City.

Hornsby improving

Senior Keith Hornsby said Monday that his sports hernia injury he aggravated Feb. 20 at Tennessee has shown improvement, but not to the point that he’s close to being able to resume basketball activities.

“It still hurts doing little things, like sitting down,” he said.

Hornsby will miss his third consecutive game when LSU hosts Missouri on Tuesday night, but he remains guardedly optimistic he might return before the season ends.

“The doctors didn’t give me much to go on; it’s just based on how I feel in the next week or so,” Hornsby said. “Who knows — it might start rapidly improving in the next four or five days. We’ll see what happens; that’s all I can say right now.”

SEC honors Blakeney

LSU guard Antonio Blakeney was named SEC co-freshman of the week after he scored a career-high 32 points in Saturday night’s 96-91 win over Florida.

Blakeney averaged 27.0 points in two outings last week after scoring 22 points in a loss at Arkansas last Tuesday night. Blakeney, who also won the award for the first week of the season in November, shared it this time with Murray. Simmons has won it three times.

Last call

LSU radio play-by-play man Jim Hawthorne, who’s retiring after this basketball season, will make his final regular-season call at the Pete Maravoch Assembly Center on Tuesday night. To commemorate the event, the first 1,500 fans through the doors will receive a Hawthorne bobblehead.

Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter, @MicklesAdvocate.