Ben Simmons is a Melbourne-born, 6’9″ forward who is currently rated the top high school basketball player in the US.
His Aussie mate Dante Exum was snapped up by Utah last year as fifth draft pick overall and has so far experienced all the ups and downs of a rookie year in the NBA.
Now it’s Simmons’ turn to impress NBA coaches, and some of them are even saying he’s ready for the big time now, despite moving to Louisiana next year to play college ball.
Simmons pulled off the huge play on Saturday as his high school side Montverde Academy downed St Francis in the quarterfinals of the City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers.
The outrageous alley-oop selfie was good enough to rank No 4 on ESPN’s SportCenter in the US the next day.
“We’ve seen an alley-oop to oneself off the backboard this season — from Phoenix Suns uber-athlete and one-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion Gerald Green,” ESPN’s Patrick Dorsey wrote. “This is from a high-schooler.”
ESPN has Simmons sitting at No 1 in its top 100 Class of 2015 rankings for the season.
Raised in Newcastle, NSW, Simmons’ dad Dave was a champion player for the Melbourne Tigers. There’s few who doubt his son can go all the way to play against the world’s best.
“Most coaches are of the opinion that Simmons is almost guaranteed to be a successful NBA player,” CBS college basketball writer Jeff Borzello wrote.
“Throw in his 6-foot-9 size and ability to do a variety of things on the court, and it’s tough to imagine Simmons failing at the next level.”
Let’s look at that dunk again, from another angle:
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