Preseason All-American Simmons headlines freshman class
The already-high expectations awaiting LSU's Ben Simmons have increased even more now that he's an Associated Press preseason All-American before even playing a game.
The 6-foot-10 forward from Australia became just the fourth freshman honored on the five-man preseason team Monday.
Simmons, who played high school basketball in Florida, has plenty of company when it comes to top-tier freshman talent entering college basketball this year. Like Simmons, they could have potentially short stays in college.
Here's a look at some of those other elite rookies as the schedule gets rolling Friday:
CAL'S DYNAMIC DUO
Second-year coach Cuonzo Martin landed quite the recruiting haul for No. 14 California: Scout.com's No. 4-ranked recruit Jaylen Brown of Marietta, Georgia, on the wing and No. 5 Ivan Rabb of Oakland, California, inside. And the arrival of two elite recruits have stirred high expectations at Cal, not to mention regular practice visits from NBA scouts. They sound ready for the pressure, too.
''These are some of the most mature freshmen I've ever met,'' junior guard Stephen Domingo said. ''They're just like us.''
North Carolina's long-running academic fraud scandal ultimately helped rival Duke land the 6-foot-9 instate wing after an intense recruiting battle. And Ingram's commitment was the crown jewel in a stellar recruiting class to help the fifth-ranked Blue Devils reload after losing three one-and-done players from last year's NCAA championship squad. Ingram was Scout.com's No. 3-ranked recruit, and Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski is promising that Ingram ''will be all over'' the court with his 7-foot-3 wingspan.
''That versatility, that flexibility puts him in a position to be in almost any lineup,'' Krzyzewski said.
John Calipari's latest recruiting class at No. 2 Kentucky features Scout.com's top-ranked recruit in Labissiere, a 6-foot-11 forward. Labissiere looked sharp in last week's exhibition win, scoring 22 points on 9-for-12 shooting to go with nine rebounds and a block in 17 minutes. The native of Haiti who played high school basketball in Memphis, Tennessee, joins a team looking to replace No. 1 overall NBA draft pick Karl-Anthony Towns on the inside.
''He's got a ways to go,'' Calipari said. ''We've got to really do a better job of teaching him how to fight position and how to hold his position and how to make sure you're catching balls and catching it close. It's all new to him.''
It didn't take first-year Mississippi State coach Ben Howland long to make a mark when he landed Newman, a 6-foot-3 in-state guard ranked as Scout.com's No. 10 recruit. The McDonald's All-American has battled a preseason toe injury that kept him out of last week's exhibition game, but he's expected to be one of the Bulldogs' top players alongside a veteran nucleus. ''I'm really just working on everything on the defensive side to be a complete player,'' Newman said.
The 6-foot-11, 255-pound center from Milwaukee joins a Maryland team ranked third nationally and regarded as a Final Four contender. Coach Mark Turgeon has cautioned that it would take time for Stone - a McDonald's All-American ranked as Scout.com's No. 6 recruit - to develop, though Stone started the only exhibition and is primed for a big role behind star sophomore Melo Trimble.
''There's a lot of things that he has to do better and he knows that,'' Turgeon said. ''He's got a great feel for the game, a good understanding of the game.''
AP Sports Writer David Brandt in Jackson, Mississippi; David Ginsburg in College Park, Maryland; Gary B. Graves in Lexington, Kentucky; Janie McCauley in Berkeley, California; and Joedy McCreary in Durham, North Carolina, contributed to this report.
Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the AP's college basketball site at http://collegebasketball.ap.org .