Simmons misses Boomers 12-man squad

Highly-rated Australian prospect Ben Simmons is a shock omission from the 12-man Boomers squad set to compete at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain.


The final 12 has a distinct NBA flavour, with San Antonio Spurs NBA champion Aron Baynes joined by Utah Jazz rookie Dante Exum, along with Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova and Chicago Bulls forward Cameron Bairstow.

However Australia’s two biggest NBA stars – Spurs point guard Patty Mills and Golden State Warriors centre Andrew Bogut – will both miss the tournament due to injury.

While six Australian rookies were named in the squad, Simmons was one of five wider squad players who didn’t make the cut for the August-September tournament.

The 18-year-old is tipped for a big future after committing to Louisiana State University – the college that produced Shaquille O’Neal – and there are high hopes for him in the 2016 NBA draft.

“Really disappointed didn’t make the Worlds Team. Good luck to all the guys who did #grindtime,” Simmons posted on Twitter.

Boomers head coach Andrej Lemanis said Simmons’ exclusion from the 12-man squad highlighted the depth of talent in the side.

“There’s no doubt he’s going to be a great basketball player,” Lemanis said.

“We just felt he wasn’t ready yet. Playing against men, we just felt it’s not his time this year.

“But he’ll be there in the future. He just needs to get older.”

One young gun who did make the cut is 19-year-old top five NBA draft pick Exum, who said he and Dellavedova would have to step up in Mills’ absence.

“Any opportunity you get on the court is an opportunity to show what you’ve got,” Exum said.

“We’re definitely going to miss Patty. But hopefully I can step into his shoes and perform.”

Dellavedova, who will be teammates with superstar LeBron James when the NBA season next rolls around again, said he was looking forward to the extra responsibility in offence.

“Leadership-wise as well. I’ve really embraced that so far in camp,” he said.