When the Wooden Award finalists were revealed, there was one very noticeable name missing from the list: LSU freshman Ben Simmons.
- Grayson Allen, Duke
- Malcolm Brogdon, Virginia
- Kris Dunn, Providence
- Perry Ellis, Kansas
- Kahlil Felder, Oakland
- Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
- Josh Hart, Villanova
- Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
- Brice Johnson, North Carolina
- Georges Niang, Iowa State
- Jakob Poetl, Utah
- Melo Trimble, Maryland
- Tyler Ulis, Kentucky
- Jarrod Uthoff, Iowa
- Denzel Valentine, Michigan State
The Wooden Award, which is given to the most outstanding men's and women's college basketball player, also takes into account a number of qualifications, including "scholastic achievement and aspirations" where "all candidates must have a cumulative 2.00 grade point average since enrolling in their current university." According to ESPN, this may be the criteria which made Simmons ineligible for the award.
"From what I was told, he didn't meet all of the requirements," LSU head coach Johnny Jones told ESPN. "He wasn't certified by the school to be on the ballot."
Averaging 19.7 points, 11.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game, Simmons has clearly succeeded on the court, but when it comes to academics, the freshman has some much needed room for improvement. Simmons was forced to sit out the start of the Tigers' game against Tennessee on Feb. 20 because of an academic issue.
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