LSU’s heralded basketball freshmen Ben Simmons, Antonio Blakeney, Brandon Sampson raising expectations, and one's talking national championship _lowres

Advocate file photo by HEATHER McCLELLAND -- Ben Simmons, the Gatorade national player of the year, begins his freshman season with LSU this fall.

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LSU basketball freshman phenom Ben Simmons is sitting out practice Monday because of a minor ankle injury.

Monday is the first day of practice.

This season is one of the most anticipated LSU seasons in years, with the addition of three of the nation’s top 40 recruits — a heralded class topped by 6-foot-10 forward Simmons — to blend in with eight scholarship returnees.

The Tigers have a Nov. 6 exhibition with Southwest Baptist, and the regular-season opener is against McNeese State a week later.