Ben Simmons’ long-awaited Boomers return could be just a few months away.
The three-time NBA All-Star is eager to don the green and gold and represent Australia at this year’s World Cup, Boomers coach Brian Goorjian has confirmed.
Since being cut from the 2014 World Cup roster, Simmons has repeatedly prioritised his NBA commitments over national duties. The 26-year-old, who has battled injury setbacks for the past couple of years, is yet to represent the Boomers at an Olympics or World Championships, but Goorjian confirmed the guard is keen to participate in the upcoming World Cup across the Philippines, Indonesia and Japan.
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“I think his (Ben’s) mindset is getting healthy, getting in shape and getting ready to play in this (World Cup),” Goorjian told SEN on Friday.
“And I think he has been along that line for a while and I felt it last time.
“There were unfortunate circumstances (why he didn’t play at Tokyo), but I feel like he is going to make himself available.”
Simmons was a chance of playing at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where Australia won a historic bronze medal, but instead spent the off-season working on skill development following a disappointing playoffs campaign for the Philadelphia 76ers, culminating in an ugly trade standoff.
“Our door is always open to him and during my time with the Boomers he has always been straightforward with me,” Goorjian continued.
“But that was a very tough situation (in Philadelphia) and he was in the process of change.
“It just didn’t work, but now he is in a situation where he is getting his health back to be ready to play.
“As we sit now, I think there is a really strong chance (that he plays at the World Cup).
“I also feel that Ben understands being with the Boomers and enjoying his basketball while representing his country.
“He will also be around these guys that he has grown up with. He gets that and he wants that.”