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76ers' Ben Simmons Announces He'll Play for Australia in 2019 FIBA World Cup

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons in action during the first half of Game 6 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Toronto Raptors, Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Philadelphia. 76ers won 112-101. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons announced on Twitter that he will be joining the Australian national team:

Ben Simmons @BenSimmons25

https://t.co/Rld2p2XEEY

"I am gonna be a Boomer for the upcoming events, so stay tuned," Simmons said, referring to Australia's team nickname.

Australia is set to compete in the FIBA World Cup this summer, with games beginning on Aug. 31.

Simmons was born in Melbourne but hasn't been able to compete for his home country in major events to this point in his career. He was only 18 years old during the last FIBA World Cup and didn't make the team, and he decided against competing at the 2016 Olympics while he prepared for the NBA draft. 

Since then, the versatile player has established himself as an impact player in the NBA who was named Rookie of the Year in 2017-18 and earned an All-Star selection in 2018-19.

He finished this past season averaging 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game before helping the 76ers reach the second round of the playoffs.

Australia coach Andrej Lemanis described the impact Simmons could have with the national team, per the team's official release:

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"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. This will help the team in a multitude of ways. I know we will enjoy the journey with him and I’m confident he’ll enjoy the Boomers environment."

Although the Boomers haven't had much success at the World Cup in the past, they reached the semifinals at the most recent Summer Olympics and should go into the summer with high expectations thanks to NBA talent like Simmons, Patty Mills, Joe Ingles and more.

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