After Ben Simmons and LSU fell to Texas A&M by an embarrassing score of 71-38 in the SEC Tournament semifinals on Saturday, they weren’t picked on Selection Sunday and turned down an NIT invite. All of which means Ben Simmons has probably played his last college basketball game.
The highly touted recruit had an up and down year both on and off the court, but regardless of whether he completely met expectations in college, he’s still a big favorite to go No. 1 overall in the upcoming NBA draft. According to The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, we now know who will likely be representing Simmons in that process. The 19-year-old phenom is expected to sign with LeBron James’ agent, Rich Paul, and his agency Klutch Sports.
For those in the know, this is not an unexpected development. According to Wojnarowski, Klutch Sports has been putting on the full-court press trying to recruit Simmons since he attended the LeBron James Skills Academy in 2014. Simmons and LeBron are tight, too, with the LSU freshman saying in December that the Cavs superstar is “like a big brother” to him.
There is, however, another interesting note about Simmons’ connection to Klutch Sports.
Simmons’ older sister, Emily Bush, has been a marketing/branding employee of Klutch since 2014. She is based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Her hiring came shortly after James and Paul started recruiting Simmons as a potential future client.
Whether it’s fair to Ben’s sister, Emily Bush, and her marketing/branding skills, these dots are easy to connect. But it’s not as if this would be the first time something like this has happened. Anyone remember when the Wizards hired Kevin Durant’s former high-school coach? This is how players get representation. They’re liable to go with those people who have been spending time making the connection, no matter how much nepotism might be involved.
Regardless of whether it’s fair, it’s not illegal, and it will now be up to Paul and Klutch Sports to wash some of the stink of LSU off Simmons’ lone college season to remind people that while his team may have faltered, he was still one of the most dominant forces in the country this season.