Dante Exum was the Aussie who tantalized quite a few college coaches and NBA scouts in recent years. He ultimately bypassed college -- though says he would have attended Indiana -- in order to play right away in the NBA.
The next Australian hope is Ben Simmons. For those who follow recruiting, he's no secret. Also a clear-cut talent from Down Under, Simmons moved to the United States in January after verbally committing to LSU all the way back in last October.
He's now the No. 1 prospect among all 2015 players at 247Sports.
Simmons "showed out," as some of the folks now say, at last week's Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C. A sampling of his skill is on display in the mixtape above. Simmons reiterated to reporters last week that he will not follow in the steps of Exum; read: flake on college and seek pro opportunity ASAP.
Simmons was definitely keeping the buzz going, as he looked terrific moving the ball and making impact from basically 35 feet and in. Whip passes, a smooth J, second and third opportunities near the rim, and unflappable composure: Simmons is far from the best No. 1 overall prospect in the past 15 years, but it's clear he'll be as close to fail-proof as possible by the time he's drafted.
If you're wondering why the top prospect in the country wound up picking LSU over the bluebloods that were chasing him, my colleague, Jeff Borzello, laid it out last year:
"He's the son of Dave Simmons, who attended Oklahoma City University before playing professional basketball in Melbourne. And that's where the LSU connection comes in: while over in Australia, Dave Simmons played with David Patrick – who is Ben Simmons' godfather. More importantly, Patrick is an assistant coach at LSU. It gave the Tigers an important hook for Simmons, and it ended up making the difference."
The Tigers flirted with the NCAAs last year, ultimately finishing 20-14. But with Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin back next season -- and then Simmons coming aboard for 2015-16 -- Johnny Jones' Tigers stand at a chance of truly being relevant and vying for Sweet 16 appearances over the next three seasons.
(Video Via CBT)