Simmons benched for academic reasons in LSU's latest loss

In what is likely going to be viewed as a controversial move by LSU, Ben Simmons was forced to come of the bench in the Tigers' 81-65 loss to Tennessee today.

LSU head coach Johnny Jones mentioned during the TV broadcast, that the reasons behind this move was due to academic reasons.

“It is an internal matter and we will address it after the game,” Jones said.

“It’s an academic matter. There are some academic things he needs to take care of. This is how we’re dealing with it.”

Simmons entered the game after 4 minutes and 30 seconds with LSU leading 6-5, and still managed 8 points and 4 rebounds in the first half, although he turned the ball over a whopping 5 times.

LSU went into the main break trailing 31-25, and Simmons was clearly unhappy with the benching decision, displaying poor body language and lacking effort on the court, especially on the defensive end.

It appeared his academic indiscretions were soon forgiven, thanks to LSU's perilous position of missing the NCAA tournament. Simmons started the second half and wouldn't see the pine again.

While he would finish the game with 21 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 8 turnovers in his 36 minutes, his performance received a scathing attack from one of the leading talent scouts in the business: Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.

Disgraceful how? Simmons simply did not look like he cared one bit about winning or losing. Seemed primarily concerned w/ just looking cool.

— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) February 21, 2016

A lesser player with academic problems would likely be sat for the whole game, but it seems LSU were unwilling to go through with such a move as they were in desperate need of talent on the floor.

Instead, they have seemingly hedged on their punishment by trying to shock him with a slap on the wrist while continuing to benefit from his basketball abilities.

Ben Simmons' has single handedly lifted LSU program. Can't see how coming off the bench for apparent 'academic' issues changes anything

— Damian Arsenis (@DamianArsenis) February 21, 2016

@Avianfluman if he has academic issues he should not have played at all. LSU wants their cake and to eat it too

— Damian Arsenis (@DamianArsenis) February 21, 2016

After riding a wave of positive press for so long, he is now suffering the downside of overexposure. People are now starting to turn on Simmons and pick holes in his game, even the hand he should be shooting with. The same talking heads who once lavished praise upon him now argue if he is overrated.

There is also a growing belief that Duke's Brandon Ingram should now be taken over Simmons as the first overall pick in the draft.

Simmons' response to this controversy could have a big impact on draft night.