LSU basketball signee Benny Simmons is three for three.
Simmons, a 6-foot-10, 230-pound forward, from Montverde Academy in Florida, collected his third national player of the year award in the past two weeks Tuesday.
During a lunchtime school assembly, Simmons was named the Gatorade boys player of the year. He will be able to put the award on his mantel alongside two other prestigious honors: the Morgan Wootten Award, which he won March 10, and Naismith Trophy, which he received just two days later.
In addition to athletic excellence, the Gatorade award recognizes academic achievement and exemplary character on and off the court.
Simmons carries a 3.48 GPA, has volunteered for Basketball Buddies literacy outreach, and is part of a study skills initiative for Montverde Academy elementary school students.
A native of Melbourne, Australia, Simmons is wrapping up a stellar senior season in which he’s averaged 28.0 points, 11.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.6 steals in leading his team to a 28-1 record.
He has 24 double-doubles while shooting 70.7 percent from the field.
“Ben Simmons is an electrifying player,” Montverde coach Kevin Boyle said. “He’s a great rebounder, and he has the ability to help teammates get better.
“I think he’s the best high school player in the country, and the scary thing is I think he can get a lot better. He’s improved each year because he recognizes he can keep getting better.”
The nation’s top-rated prospect for the Class of 2015 by most recruiting services, Simmons signed with LSU on Nov. 12 after committing to coach Johnny Jones’ program more than a year earlier.
He is the second LSU signee to receive the national Gatorade honor in the 30-year history of the award. New Orleans native Randy Livingston of Newman High School won in 1993.
In February, Simmons was named a McDonald’s All-American. He will participate in the annual all-star game April 1 in Chicago.
He will also play in the Jordan Brand Classic later in April and will try to lead his team to a third consecutive title in the Dick’s Sporting Goods national high school tournament.
Simmons was presented the award at his school by former Atlanta Hawks forward Dominique Wilkins, a nine-time NBA all-star who won two dunk contest titles.
Simmons is a finalist for the Gatorade male high school athlete of the year award to be presented at a ceremony before The Espy awards in July.
“Without question, Ben is deserving of recognition as the nation’s best high school boys basketball player based on his statistics on the court and impact his accomplishments have had on Montverde Academy’s success,” Gatorade Chief Marketing Officer Morgan Flatley said.
“But he is also a shining example to peers and aspiring young athletes of what a leader and a student-athlete should be. He represents everything we hope for in a Gatorade Player of the Year recipient.”
ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman, citing league a source, tweeted Tuesday that LSU sophomore forward Jordan Mickey is leaning toward entering the NBA draft.
A tearful Mickey said after a 66-65 loss to North Carolina State in the NCAA tournament last week that he would talk with his family and consult with the LSU coaching staff before making any decision on his future.
Mickey, a first-team All-Southeastern Conference selection, led the league in rebounding with 9.9 per game and topped the nation with 3.6 blocked shots per game. He also ranked second in the conference in scoring this season with 15.4 points per game while connecting on 50.4 percent of his field-goal attempts.
“I don’t have a time frame on that right now,” Mickey said of the draft after the N.C. State loss, nearly echoing comments made by fellow sophomore forward Jarell Martin. “Whenever I decide to think about it, that’s something I’ll talk about with the coaching staff and my family and make the best decision I can.”
Mickey is ranked by CBSSports.com as the 57th overall prospect, but both he and Martin are projected as early second-round picks should they enter the draft.
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.