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28 Oct

Ben Simmons shows world class

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“He’s such a special talent”: world team coach Roy Rana on Ben Simmons.FORMER Newcastle Hunters junior basketballer Ben Simmons set an assists record and went close to posting a triple double to help lead the world team to a 113-111 victory over the United States at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday.
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Eighteen-year-old Simmons scored 13 points, pulled down nine rebounds and handed out a record nine assists as the world team defeated the US for the third time in the past four years.

“This is my fifth Hoop Summit, and every time we’ve had a very special player who has been selfless. I’m not surprised Ben broke the assists record,” world team coach Roy Rana said.

“He’s such a special talent because he can take over games offensively, yet he’s willing to help his teammates be successful and takes great joy in that.”

The game is an annual showcase between a selection of the world’s best under-19 players against America’s best high school seniors as chosen by USA Basketball.

Another Australian, the 216-centimetre centre Thon Maker, had 10 rebounds for the world team.

Simmons, who will play college basketball for Louisiana State University later this year, led Orlando-based Montverde Academy to a third straight national high school championship seven days earlier and was the tournament Most Valuable Player for a second consecutive year.

The 206cm forward, who was born in Melbourne but spent almost 10 years in Newcastle as a child and learned to play basketball in the city, is projected to be one of the first players chosen in the 2016 National Basketball Association Draft.

He was acknowledged last month as the best player in American high school basketball for the 2014-15 season by receiving the Morgan Wootten award, Naismith Trophy and Gatorade national boys’ player of the year award.

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