Andrew Gaze congratulates Ben Simmons on Boomers decision
Andrew Gaze says Ben Simmons’ decision to play for the Boomers in “upcoming events” is huge for basketball in Australia.
After much speculation about whether Simmons would represent Australia at the FIBA World Cup in August, the 22-year-old took to social media earlier today to confirm the news.
It comes shortly after Simmons’ Philadelphia 76ers were knocked out of the NBA Playoffs against Toronto this week following a dramatic series for Simmons and his team.
Gaze says Australia’s first NBA All-Star should be congratulated on his decision.
“I think it’s important we congratulate and acknowledge Ben Simmons on what he’s done,” Gaze said.
“I think most fans in Australia would understand – 22 years of age and about to renegotiate a massive contract that most of us would have understood if he said ‘Right, now’s not the time’.
“But, no he’s gone and said, ‘I love this country, I love the Australian team, I want to be apart of it and I’m prepared to put myself out there and be selected’.
“I think that speaks volumes to the character of the man and we are all extremely grateful that he’s done this.
“That in itself is a huge, huge tick for him, his family and it’s so heartwarming to feel that it’s his love for this country and Australian basketball.”
Simmons backed up his NBA rookie of the year efforts last season with another strong campaign – where he played in 79 games and averaged 16.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.7 assists.
It could be the Boomers best shot at winning a FIBA World Cup in August with 13 Aussies managing game time throughout the 2018/19 NBA season.
Gaze also named his starting five for Australia.
Point Guard: Ben Simmons.
Shooting Guard: Patty Mills.
Centre: Andrew Bogut.
Power Forward: Ryan Broekhoff.
Small Forward: Joe Ingles.
Click ‘play’ to hear the full interview below.