By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons will not be joining the Australian NT for the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, as he is looking to focus on his individual development this offseason and the Boomers have respected his decision not to join the rest of the squad.
The final 12-man selection (expected to be announced in July) will participate in exhibition games against the United States, Nigeria and Argentina in Las Vegas, before departing for Tokyo.
The Australian Federation confirmed Simmons’ absence via a press release:
Boomers Squad member Ben Simmons has today advised Head Coach Brian Goorjian of his decision to withdraw from the Australian Olympic Squad.
Simmons, 24, indicated to Coach Goorjian that he requires this upcoming period of time to focus on individual skill development and wishes the team well for the Olympics in Tokyo.
“I have spoken with Ben and whilst we wanted him to be a part of our team, we understand and support his decision and he has made it clear that this is something that he wants to be a part of in the future.
“It is a pretty rough time for him right now and I know it is something that he wanted to do, but the timing just hasn’t worked.
“The best thing for everybody right now is for him to go on and develop that skill package and improve in a couple of areas for his next season in the NBA, but the Boomers are always here for him. We wanted him to know that in his time of need, the culture and the guys here are behind him and support him”.
Boomers teammate Patty Mills echoed Coach Goorjian’s support for Simmons.
“As a teammate, as a fan and as a supporter, we all want to see our best players putting on the green and gold and for me in particular, having that thought even to be able to share the court with Benny at some stage in the green and gold, is something I am always going to look forward to and unfortunately now is not going to be the time, and that is ok.” said Mills.
“This place right here, and the program we have developed, and how strong our culture is, this is one place for him that is always going to be here with open arms because we are mates. We are team-mates, we are a brotherhood and to be able to represent the green and gold, that is the culture that we have.”
“The number one fact and characteristic of our group is how we support each other through the good, bad and ugly, whatever it may be, and Ben isn’t an exception to that. No matter what he does, myself and the team will continue to support him because this is a safe place – everyone needs to know and understand that now more than ever, we need to support Ben on his journey.”