Ben Simmons wins Morgan Wootten Player of the Year award

Ben Simmons, the 6'10 forward out of Melbourne, Australia, has been named the Morgan Wootten Player of the Year, making his the first Australian to receive the honour.

Ben Simmons | Photo credit: Dave Roback / The Republican

The Morgan Wootten Award is given annually to the best male and female McDonald's All-American players who exemplify outstanding character, exhibit leadership and embody the values of being a student-athlete in the classroom and the community.

Simmons attends Montverde Academy in Florida and averaged an extremely impressive 27.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 3.9 apg, 2.5 spg and 1.4 bpg in his senior year. Montverde is expected to be named as a part of the DICKS National Championship field, giving Simmons the chance to win his third national championship in a row.

Simmons, who is ESPN's #1 ranked player for the Class of 2015, spoke with ESPN about winning the award.

"It's definitely a big honor, and when you look at some of the former winners, such as LeBron James and the other great players, it just motivates me to work even harder."

As the 19th overall winner of the award, Simmons joins an illustrious group that includes Lebron James, Dwight Howard and Kevin Love.

A key component of the award is recognising an athlete's contribution to the community, and that's something Simmons takes pride in.

Our school has a program called Basketball Buddies, and I have a group of fourth- and fifth-graders who I help with their school work, mentor and spend time with, and I love it, it feels good to know I can be a role model and kids can look up to me. It also helps me make the right choices.

Love all the support ✊

A photo posted by Benjamin Simmons (@bensimmons20) on Feb 15, 2015 at 12:16pm PST

Simmons will play in the McDonald's All American game in Chicago on April 1st, then will likely head to New York City with his Montverde squad to defend the DICKS National Championship.