Former LSU forward Ben Simmons, who is projected as the likely No. 1 pick in the NBA draft in June, will not play in the 2016 Olympic Games for his native Australia.
ESPN reported Friday night that Simmons, who was named last May as one of 26 candidates for Team Australia, told officials from that organization that he will concentrate on playing for whatever team chooses him in the draft rather than travel to Rio de Janeiro.
“Ben Simmons will postpone playing with the Australian Olympic team this summer in order to concentrate fully on his NBA activities following the upcoming 2016 NBA draft,” Rich Paul, Simmons’ agent, said in a statement.
“Australian Olympic Team training and competition takes place at the same time as the various NBA summer development programs, and therefore, Ben will look forward to his national team participation at some time later in his career.”
The 19-year-old Simmons averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists for LSU and was a first-team All-America pick as well as the consensus national freshman of the year.
Simmons reportedly told Australian team representatives that he is open to playing for the team in the future, perhaps as soon as the summer of 2018.
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