Ben Simmons won't play FIBA U19's, and that's completely fine

Ben Simmons, the projected #1 pick for the 2016 NBA Draft, has said that it's likely he won't participate in this year's FIBA U19 World Championships, making him the 2nd Australian to back out of the campaign.

Photo credit to Basketball Australia

The LSU signee told that college basketball is a high priority.

“I'll be going to college,” Simmons said. “I really need to focus on going to college because that’s around the same time I’ll be going to school.”

Simmons officially signed with LSU late last year and is a projected one-and-done prospect.

This news came after Montverde's 71-64 win over Roselle Catholic last night, with Simmons posting an impressive 18 points, 14 rebounds and 5 assists. Simmons also stated after the game that he has been invited to this year's Nike Hoop Summit.

“I’ll be playing the Hoop Summit,” Simmons said. “It’s special for me because I’m representing my country when I get out there. As an Australian, it’s good for me and it’s good to play for my country.”

The Hoop Summit invitation caps off an impressive few weeks, with the Melbourne-born forward also being selected as a McDonalds All-American and a Naismith Trophy semifinalist.

Ben Simmons | Photo credit: Dave Roback / The Republican

Simmons' decision to back-out of this year's Australian U19 campaign was expected and, despite the Australian fans who would disagree, was a smart and reasonable decision.

Montverde is coming off back-to-back National Championships and is vying for a third - Simmons a major player in all 3 campaigns. Sandwiched between that was a gruelling AAU tour where Simmons' E1T1 squad went deep into the Nike Peach Jam tournament - one of the most competitive competitions of the Summer.

It also should be mentioned that Simmons has proven himself on the national stage, having an impressive performance at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championships where he received a silver medal, as well as playing for the Boomers in an Oceania series the following year.

That's a lot of basketball.

It's time we start to think about the future, because that's what Simmons is looking forward to - with Boomers basketball a priority for him.

“I think we can be really good,” he said. “We have a lot of young talent coming through and already we have a lot of players in the NBA, Matthew Dellavedova, Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut and players like that are already in the NBA so it’s good for Australian basketball.”

For all of the ridicule Andrew Bogut gets from some Australian fans for missing international basketball due to some unfortunate injuries, it should be praised that this young man is focusing on his own longevity so he can be a factor for the program in the long-term.

“As soon as I’m able to put on that jersey for my country in the Olympics, I’ll do it.”