Boomers coach talks about Ben Simmons, says LSU freshman playing basketball the ‘Australian way’

By @hoopsdontstop30 on
NCAA
Boomers head coach Andrej Lemanis said Ben Simmons has been handling media hype very well. Reuters/Jim Young

Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis said Louisiana State University forward Ben Simmons is playing basketball the “Australian way” after the 19-year-old freshman continues to show his skills as a point-forward player, dishing out a total of 31 assists in his first five games at the NCAA.

The 6-foot-10 inches tall Simmons is compared  to NBA demigods Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Lebron James because of his size and athleticism, and his ability to make plays for his teammates. According to Lemanis, the reason behind Simmons’ pass-first mentality is because of his stint with the Australian Boomers, where “creating the best play to win the game” is the mentality.

“We’re not about ‘hero plays’,” Lemanis said, reports Adelaide Now. “It’s the Australian way and means Simmons, at 19, is ahead of his time, totally appropriate for player 'sent from the future.'"

The Melbourne-born power forward is posting remarkable statistics in his first year with the Tigers. His per game average of 16.2 points, 14.4 rebounds, and 6.2 assists in five games has made him a consensus No. 1 overall pick in next year’s NBA draft.  

Tigers coach Johnny Jones has high hopes in Simmons, whom he described as a player with “really great high basketball IQ.” Jones said Simmons does not force action and is always looking to create opportunities for his teammates, reports NOLA. His 10 assists game is a good testament to his point guard skills and could have gone for more because he got the ball to his teammates in good position.

Lemanis revealed that Simmons has been dealing well with media hype amid his sensational basketball skills with help from the youngster’s parents Dave and Julie, who are constantly remind their son to not get caught-up with the pressure. However, Lemanis also admitted “they can’t shield” Simmons from the pressure, especially with Simmons’ continuous rise to stardom in US basketball.  

“The good thing is it’s not as if he’s jumped from Australia directly into the US media circus,” Lemanis added. “He’s had significant media attention for two-three years and I think that counts in his favour.”

Simmons would be a great addition to the Boomer for next year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, but being a No. 1, overall pick prospect could complicate the Aussie youngster’s schedule in suiting up the Green and Gold jersey.

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