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Ben Simmons out of Australian Boomers' Olympic qualifying series
Ben Simmons won't be joining the Australian Boomers for the FIBA Oceania qualifying series against New Zealand, according to Boomers head coach Andrej Lemanis.
Ben Simmons | Credit: Nike Hoop Summit
Speaking with Adelaide Now's Boti Nagy, Lemanis ruled the 6'10 forward out of August's Olympic qualifying campaign.
Ben is in the mix (for the Rio Olympics) from our perspective but he’s unavailable for this campaign.
This news comes just hours after Simmons withdrew himself from the 2015 Jordan Brand Classic, scheduled to take place in New York later this week - citing an increased focus on his senior year, as well as preparing for college.
Despite being ruled out of the qualifying campaign, Lemanis sees Simmons playing a major role for the Australian National Team for years to come.
Ben is someone who will feature prominently in our plans going forward, he narrowly missed out on making the world championship team last year and he continues to develop and get better. He is going to feature in our national team for a long time to come.
The Olympic qualifier will take place on August 15, with Rod Laver Arena expected to be the venue for the event. The second leg of the qualifying campaign will be in Wellington, New Zealand on August 18.
Australia's national squads are taking a hit due to the number of athletes in the US. Joe Ingles will sit out the qualifying series due to rest after what's been a gruelling NBA season, while the 16-man Australian U19 roster doesn't feature any of the Australians playing high school basketball in the US.
Simmons has had an extremely busy past few weeks, competing in the McDonald's All American game, winning a third straight DICK'S National Championship, as well as participating in this year's Nike Hoop Summit event.
Photo Credit: Ken Waz/USA Basketball
Although basketball fans in Melbourne won't see Simmons in the green and gold this year, they'll still have a chance to catch a glimpse of him in purple and gold as LSU will be touring Melbourne in August - with Simmons, as well as fellow Australian, Darcy Malone, a part of that team.
Simmons, who is ESPN's #1 ranked player, is expected to begin summer school at LSU in June, a typical route for student-athletes in an attempt to lighten the academic load during the season.