Simmons says he's ready to play for Australia's Boomers
ABS-CBN Sports on May 15, 2019 05:14 PM
FILE - Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons (25) tries to get a shot past Orlando Magic's Jonathan Isaac, from right, Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
SYDNEY (AP) — Ben Simmons is set to play for Australia at the FIBA World Cup after confirming in an online video “I’m going to be a Boomer” for upcoming events.
Simmons’ NBA season ended when his Philadelphia 76ers were knocked out of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Kawhi Leonard’s Game 7-ending buzzer-beater for Toronto.
The NBA All-Star told his fans to stay tuned about upcoming events in the video he posted on Twitter but he later confirmed on Weibo, the Chinese social media channel, that he was “looking forward to representing my country Australia” in the World Cup. He’s likely to join the likes of Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut and Matthew Dellavedova in Australia’s squad for the World Cup, which starts Aug. 31 in China.
Simmons was criticized in Philadelphia for his lack of impact in the playoffs, but he used the video to thank fans for their support as well as outline his international intentions.
Australia coach Andrej Lemanis said Simmons’ decision to return after skipping the 2016 Olympics reflected the positive vibes within the national set up.
“The players are truly invested in the program and each other. They are always proud to wear the Boomers uniform and keen to represent Australian basketball on the world stage,” Lemanis said. “Ben is an amazing talent and his skill set will add significantly to the team.
“He has a phenomenal basketball IQ, an ability to create for himself and others and an obvious willingness to play in a team orientated environment.”
Australia’s Boomers have never finished higher than fourth in the World Cup or Olympics but are growing in confidence with an increasing number of players in the NBA.
The Boomers are scheduled to play warmups against Canada in Perth, Australia, on Aug. 16 and 17 and against the World Cup champion U.S. team in Melbourne on Aug. 22 and 24.