Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons called the NCAA a “dirty business” in a recent interview with Maverick Carter for Uninterrupted. The top overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft went on to say that he felt like he was taken advantage of during his lone season at LSU.
The topic of “one-and-done” players in college basketball has become quite controversial in recent years. Many believe players should be forced to attend college straight out of high school, while others believe it should be a player’s right to immediately declare for the NBA Draft if they want to. Of course, Simmons was the subject of a popular documentary that followed him around at LSU and featured his displeasure with the system.
He believes the NCAA needs “one-and-done” stars in order to keep fans watching the sport. He goes on to say that he feels like he’s learned more about being financially responsible and being a person during his time with the Sixers than he did in college.
“If we didn’t, a lot of people would be losing money, so I think that’s the main reason. If the NCAA didn’t have the stars coming through then people wouldn’t be watching.”
“I think I would have learned a lot more by being around professional athletes. Looking at it now, I don’t even know what I learned financially or just being a person at LSU. I think I’ve learned a lot more with this last year being in Philly and being a pro, than I did at LSU.”
“When they started asking more of me, like more photos shoots and meeting with them and things I had to do throughout the day. I’d have class and then I would go lift, have practice, then ‘Oh Ben, you have to stay and do media and the photo shoot. I would be kind of annoyed, like ‘What am I getting out of this?’”
“It’s a dirty business… You have to put up with it, but at the same time it taught me a lot. I have an image and people use it, but now I have the opportunity to control that, what I do and who I work with. It helped me, but at the same time I felt it was very sneaky.”
It was a foregone conclusion that Simmons did not want to be at LSU and was forced to be there since he was still too young to enter the NBA draft. He became one of the faces of college basketball two years ago and feels as though the NCAA profited off of him and other stars in the sport. The documentary has shed a light on how flawed the process can be for these athletes and has created conversation for how it can be fixed.
In his first year in the NBA, Simmons is averaging 17.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and eight assists per game and is considered to be the frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year award.