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November 04, 2016

‘One & Done’ gives behind-the-scenes look at Ben Simmons’ frustrating year at LSU

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At one point the new Showtime documentary “One & Done,” its subject, Sixers forward Ben Simmons, is walking to a session with the Baton Rouge media. After not starting a recent game at LSU as punishment for missing a recent class, Simmons is mimicking the reporters, frustrated with the entire situation.

They’re going to ask me, “So Ben, why didn’t you go to class?”

“Well, I can’t get a degree in two semesters, so it’s kind of pointless. I feel like I’m wasting time.”

Remember that whole story and how it blew up? Looking back at it close to a year later, it’s interesting to see Simmons spell out his thinking with blunt honesty.

“As soon as you pass the first semester, you’re eligible to play for the rest of the season. I got Bs and Cs. I’m not going to class next semester, because I don’t need to.”

“I’m here to play, I’m not here to go to school. I have to be getting better every day. I got through my classes, now it’s time to focus on my body and playing. Straight up.”

Whether it’s Simmons himself, his family, other advisors, or whoever, one the main focuses of the documentary is the unfairness of the one-and-done system for elite-level basketball players like Simmons.

But if you’re simply a Sixers fan who isn’t all that interested in griping about the NCAA, the film also provides a look behind the scenes at Simmons’ inner circle (most interestingly, the tension between his parents and sister over how she manages his off-court career), how he came to pick Rich Paul and Klutch Sports for representation, and the bidding war between Nike and Adidas for the right to sign him to a multimillion dollar shoe deal.

Unlike Simmons’ pit stop at LSU, this one is worth your time.

‘One and Done’ premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m. on Showtime

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann