This afternoon, the AU men’s basketball team will travel to Baton Rouge to play Louisiana State University in a challenging non-conference match-up. The Eagles, who hold a 2-8 record so far this year, will take on LSU freshman sensation Ben Simmons. The 6’10 forward from Melbourne, Australia was ranked as the number one overall player for the class of 2015. Just a few months into his college career, Simmons, who has already received national recognition and attention from NBA scouts, has proven that his game deserves the hype. He averages 18.1 points a game and leads the country with 13.9 rebounds a game. On December 2 against North Florida, Simmons scored a season-high 43 points, recorded 14 rebounds, seven assists, five steals and three blocks. The stat-stuffing phenom has drawn comparisons to Lebron James and the four time MVP doesn't mind. ESPN NBA Draft Analyst Chad Ford has Simmons as the number one overall player for the 2016 NBA Draft and wrote about him on his Big Board, stating “Simmons is the prize of this draft. There really isn't a close second right now. His combination of size, athleticism, court vision and rebounding prowess is unique, and he's ultra productive, ranking No. 7 in the country in player efficiency rating.”
With a matchup against Simmons just a few hours away, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the NBA stars AU has gone against in recent memory.
The first overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft has had quite the NBA career with the Los Angeles Clippers. The five time all-star and 2011 rookie of the year has averaged 21.6 points and 9.6 rebounds a game in his career. Griffin spent two seasons at the University of Oklahoma where he was National College Basketball Player of the Year in 2009. On November 14, 2008, the Eagles played against Griffin and the sooners, and Griffin led all scorers with 24 points. He also added 18 rebounds as the Sooners beat the Eagles 83-54.
While not the flashiest of names, Parsons has had a promising start to his NBA career after being just a second round pick in 2011 by the Houston Rockets. Now in his fifth NBA season, Parsons has averaged 14.1 points, five rebounds and three assists in his career. Parsons spent four years at the University of Florida where he was the SEC player of the year in 2011 as well as an AP All-American Honorable mention. The Eagles actually played against Parsons twice squaring off in 2009 and 2010. In the latter matchup, Parsons led the Gators with 13 points, eight rebounds four assists and three steals. Florida went on to win 67-48.
The Eagles have played Georgetown five times from 2008-2013, and the Hoyas have produced some quality NBA players over the time. The most recent NBA star to emerge from Georgetown is Otto Porter Jr., who as the third overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft by the Washington Wizards. After a rough start to his career, Porter is averaging a career-high 11.8 points per game this year, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists. On Dec. 22, 2012, Porter had 16 points and 13 rebounds in a 65-48 win over AU. Three years earlier, the Hoyas were led by Greg Monroe, who was the seventh overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. Now in his sixth season, Monroe has averaged 14.4 points and 9.2 rebounds a game throughout his career. In a matchup against AU on Dec. 5 2009, Monroe had nine points, 13 rebounds, three assists and four blocks in a 73-46 Georgetown win. Two years before that, the Eagles faced off against eight-year NBA veteran Roy Hibbert. The 7’2 center was the 17th overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft by the Toronto Raptors before being traded to the Indiana Pacers on draft night. Hibbert is a two-time all-star (2012, 2014) and was named to the 2014 NBA All-Defensive second team. Hibbert scored 14 points for Georgetown in a 78-51 win over AU.
McCollum is one of two current NBA players from the Patriot league, with Bucknell graduate Mike Muscala standing as the other former Patriot League player in the professional scene. McCollum, the two-time Patriot League player of the year, was the 10th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft by the Portland Trailblazers. After playing a minimal role his first two years in the NBA, McCollum has had a chance to thrive on a rebuilding Blazers team. So far this season, he is averaging 20.1 points a game, which ranks him 20th in the league. McCollum’s best year at Lehigh was his junior year in the 2011-2012 season, when he led Lehigh to a Patriot League title and an upset over Duke University in the NCAA Tournament. That same season, AU played Lehigh three times including a matchup in the Patriot League semifinals. McCollum averaged 26.6 points per game in those three matchups including 30 in a game in Bender Arena on Feb. 9 when the Eagles won 71-62.
Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker
AU fans will remember these two athletes from the NCAA tournament two years ago when the Wisconsin Badgers defeated AU 75-35. While the outcome was not appealing, the Eagles held Wisconsin’s two best players in check. Kaminsky scored just eight points on 3-9 shooting. Dekker was hardly any better with just 11 points. Kaminsky was the 9th overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft by the Charlotte Hornets, but the 2015 National college player of the year is off to a slow start in his NBA career, averaging just 5.5 points and 3.2 rebounds a game. Dekker on the other hand, was the 15th overall pick that same year by the Houston Rockets. His career hasn’t exactly gotten off to the ideal start either. After playing a combined six minutes the first two games, Dekker had back surgery in November and is expected to be out for approximately three months.
For those who remember, Roy had quite the NBA career before it came to an abrupt halt. Roy was the sixth overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves before being immediately traded to the Portland Trailblazers. Roy was the 2007 NBA Rookie of the Year and was a three time all-star in 2008, 2009 and 2010. However, Roy suffered chronic knee issues and was forced to retire just before the 2012 NBA season. He made a comeback attempt in 2013 with the Timberwolves but played in just five games before being waived. Roy spent four years at the University of Washington, where he was the PAC-10 player of the year in 2006. Roy’s Huskies squared off against AU on Nov. 19, 2005, and he notched a game-high 17 points to go along with five rebounds and five assists in a 99-82 Huskies win.