LSU to face Melbourne United in free event at Hisense Arena
Melbourne basketball fans are in for a treat, with Louisiana State University (LSU) - featuring heralded Australian forward Ben Simmons - set to face Melbourne United at Hisense Arena on August 22nd, free of charge.
Ben Simmons | Credit: Nike Hoop Summit
Tickets for the Sydney, Brisbane and Newcastle legs of LSU's tour of Australia have reached the $100 mark, but Melbourne United and Basketball Victoria have come together to offer a free showing of the future NBA lottery pick.
Basketball Victoria will be 'selling' tickets to supporters, with the hopes of filling the 10,000 seat arena. Tickets will become available in the coming days.
Simmons, who hails from Melbourne, has just completed an historic junior career. He was the recipient of The Morgan Wootten Award, Gatorade Player of the Year award and Naismith Trophy, whilst also a Nike Hoop Summit Participant, McDonald’s All American, ESPN’s #1 ranked player, FIBA U17 World Championship silver medalist and three-time National Champion with Montverde Academy
Despite choosing to omit himself from the Australian Boomers squad for the Olympic qualifiers in August - choosing to focus on his college preparation - the 6'10 forward looks to be in prime position to have a key role for the national team, come Rio 2016.
This event will see Basketball Victoria taking the helm, promoting arguably the biggest game of the year. Basketball Victoria will be featured heavily in the lead-up to the event, as well as playing a significant role on the day. The event is expected to bring together the entire Victorian basketball community at Hisense Arena, engaging with fans in what's sure to be a unique experience.
Basketball fans will also have a chance to see Antonio Blakeney, ESPN's #2 ranked shooting guard for the class of 2015. Blakeney joined Simmons at LSU after the pair had success playing together on AAU team, E1T1.
Antonio Blakeney and Ben Simmons | Photo credit: McDonalds
Along with Simmons and Blakeney, the team will also feature Darcy Malone, the 7-footer out of Canberra who will be entering his junior year at LSU this coming season.
Malone averaged 0.9 ppg and 1.4 rpg in limited minutes at LSU this year, with the hope of an increased role next season. He was also a member of the Australian U17 team - a squad featuring Dante Exum and Ben Simmons - that won a silver medal at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship.
Ben Simmons has been committed to LSU for two years, and with constant rumours that he may bypass college to attempt to enter the NBA Draft as an international player - a la Dante Exum - it's great to see him finally able to wear that purple and gold Tigers jersey.
A photo posted by Ben Simmons (@benjaminsimmons25) on Jul 21, 2015 at 4:25pm PDT