Ben Simmons talks summer plans

He's one of the top players in the class of 2015, and every high major program in the country is already in pursuit. But instead of spending the summer on the AAU circuit, 6'9 PF Ben Simmons is heading home to Australia to process and reflect on his first year as a high major hoops star. TDD spoke with Simmons about that and much more.

Making the transition from playing international basketball to American basketball, have you noticed a big difference?

Ben Simmons: Overseas basketball is more structured in my opinion. Here it's more one-on-one, though I guess it depends on who you play with. It's hard to translate the game, and if you played in Australia, you do have to adjust the athleticism and physicality of play here in America.

You've grown a bit in the last year, what are your current height, weight, and wingspan?

I'm 6-foot-9 and 230 pounds right now, but I'm not sure of what my wingspan is.

Now that you've played a little bit for Montverde and practiced with them, how are you picking up their offense and style of play?

I think pretty good, and I'm learning how to play all over.

How much of an adjustment is it living in Florida?

I"m adjusting pretty well, but it's a bit different because I'm boarding here, so I wouldn't go out as much as I would if say I were living with my dad, or staying with my sister.

Any favorite foods or dishes here in the states?

I'm kind of missing the style of food back home, to be honest. It's hard to get a home cooked meal like you are used to back home. Here, you have to go to the cafeteria.

What's the food items you miss back home?

The biggest thing is you really miss the fresh food that you can get back home. Here I haven't really found a place like that. I can't get a steak and salad at school, because they are trying to feed a variety of people, so what they provide is a bit different.

No Veggie Mite in Florida then?

Haha, no. That's a food item in Australia that every person has tried at one time or the other. It's sorta salty, it's hard to describe, it's like taking an adventure when you eat it.

Speaking of home, are you headed back to Australia soon?

Most definitely, and I'm looking forward to that. I think I'm going back around early June. I'm looking forward to being able to just go home and workout with my trainer to make sure I'm ready for the season.

Have you been able to see any of your family since you moved to Montverde?

Yeah I actually saw my dad recently. He surprised me at the Jordan Brand Classic. We saw his family in New York because he's originally from there. I saw my grandma and grandpa there, cousins, uncles since they are all there. I saw a lot of the family last month, it was awesome. I think most of my family didn't even know he was doing it. I got off the elevator and I saw him and it was a big surprise for me. I think he only mentioned it to one of my sisters.

Are you the youngest of the family?

Yeah, I'm the youngest of six children. It wasn't hard growing up, but there was some tough love for sure.

Are you still playing for the Montverde Summer Team?

I was for a little bit, but it's not happening now. It's hard getting all the guys together as they play for different AAU teams. I'm still positive that I'm not playing AAU this year. I haven't thought too much about what AAU team I'll play for next summer, but I hope to think about it while I'm away.

Are you taking any visits to any colleges during these spring and summer periods?

I think when I get back from Australia I might take a couple, but I'm not sure where yet.

Have there been any coaches who have asked for a visit?

I've kinda shut down schools from talking to me right now. I've been focusing on school and leaving that stuff up to my dad. I'll start thinking more about schools once this next year starts.

How much are you hearing from your teammates about playing together?

Not really all that much to be honest. They all know that I still have two years left in high school, so no one is trying to push me anywhere.

Since you mentioned still having two years of high school left -- I wanted to ask -- is re-classifying an option for you?

I don't think that's going to happen, and it's not on the table at all. I don't see any reason why I should re-classify because I don't see how it would benefit me really. The only thing I think it's good for is to get you out of school earlier. I might as well just play out what I'm doing here.

As a player--what are you trying to develop during the rest of your time in high school?

Trying to polish up my game including my outside shot, and to build my body up to get ready for college. I need to try to have that full, complete game.

Do you have performance goals that you follow?

Right now I'm just trying to work on my post moves, and I get into the gym with Coach Boyle and work on that. I've been working on my outside game but if I have a smaller guy on me, I need to be able to go into the post against him.

What was the experience of the Jordan game like?

That was my first time in a game like that, and it was a pretty good experience. I got a little taste of the European style of play. It was my first time playing with Thon Maker which was cool, because usually I'm playing against him, so that was good to play with him, it was fun. He's a hard worker for sure.

How did it come about for you to play in the Jordan Brand Classic?

I think they emailed my dad, and that was my first time hearing about the international game of the event, so I looked it up and saw the guys who had previously played in the international game, and when I saw who had played, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to play on that stage and in a game like that.

Did you practice against the Americans?

We didn't get to do that, because they would have had too many players because we had, I think, something like 18 players on each team, so we didn't get to play until the last practice, kinda a little scrimmage.

Did they hook you guys up with Jordan gear?

Yeah, and it was really cool knowing that the person behind all that stuff was Michael Jordan. To be a part of that was pretty good because the experience with, we got to talk about Jordan and what it meant to us, that was cool. What did it mean to you to participate?

For me, just that it was Michael Jordan behind everything, the game, the gear, that's all that pretty much needs to be said in my mind. We didn't get to talk with Michael much.

You mentioned on Twitter recently that you hope to visit Duke, has there been any communication with the Duke staff since you got to Florida?

I'm not sure, that would be setup with my dad. I'll wait until I get back to Australia to find out who has been contacting my dad.

Did you see any coaches come watch you play or practice this year?

No, there were guys coming to the school to see other guys, but they can't technically talk to you, so after practice I would just go.

In College--what kind of role do you see yourself playing?

I think I'll be a point forward, but I'll play any role so long as we are winning.


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