Longley ensuring Simmons is Boomers-ready in 2019

Three-time NBA champion Luc Longley is playing the middle man to ensure Australia's latest basketball export Ben Simmons is Boomers-ready for the 2019 World Cup.


Former Chicago Bulls centre Longley, now Australia's assistant coach, has been in regular touch with the 21-year-old since his NBA debut with Philadelphia last month.

Now 10 games in, the Melbourne product is averaging 17.8 points, 10.1 rebounds, and eight assists per contest to force comparisons with the game's greats.

Australian head coach Andrej Lemanis is confident the Boomers will have his services for the World Cup and 2020 Olympics, revealing Longley had been tasked with keeping tabs on the country's NBA talent while he mentors the NBL's Brisbane Bullets.

"I'm fully focused on the Bullets here at the moment but Luc has absolutely (been talking to Ben) and is handling communication with those guys," Lemanis said.

"He's been playing great; I'm really happy for him after his first year frustratingly out with injury.

"To come in and have the impact he's had is fantastic for him and Australian basketball."

Simmons debuted for the Boomers in 2013 but made himself unavailable for Australia's 2016 Rio Olympic campaign to focus on his entry into the NBA.

Reports out of the United States indicate his allegiance hasn't waned, meaning Simmons would join a team featuring NBA colleagues Patty Mills, Dante Exum, Matthew Dellavedova, Joe Ingles, Thon Maker, Aron Baynes and potentially Andrew Bogut, who will be 35 at the time of the next Games.

While excited at the prospect, Lemanis was careful when asked if the young talent would be given free rein of the team.

"First thing we've got to do is qualify for 2019 and see if circumstances make him available and if it falls into place it's exciting what we could put together," Lemanis said.

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