Australian basketballer Ben Simmons has been confirmed the hottest prospect on the planet, after becoming the No 1 NBA Draft pick.
That means in 12 years, three No 1 NBA Draft picks have been born in Melbourne – Andrew Bogut (2005), Kyrie Irving (2011) and Simmons. That’s equal to New York’s three No 1 NBA Draft picks in the 50s and 60s, but it took Melbourne a year longer.
Simmons was taken by the Philadelphia 76ers. He is the son of Dave Simmons, who won plenty of fans back home playing for the Melbourne Tigers in the NBL.
Ben started his sporting career in rugby league in Newcastle, NSW, and was a young AFL prodigy after the family moved to Melbourne.
But an AIS basketball scholarship paved the way for him to the NBA.
Now standing 208cm and weighing 109kg, Simmons completed an outstanding year at Lousiana State University. He averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists to become the only player in SEC history to finish in the top five in all three categories.
That earned him comparisons with LSU’s last No 1 pick, Shaquille O’Neal, who later this year will be welcomed into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Another Australian, Sudanese-born Thon Maker, shocked by gaining No 10 selection with Milwaukee, despite reports that some teams were concerned that he is older than he says he is.
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