Ben Simmons has only been in the U.S. since January and played in just one tournament, but he’s shown enough on the court to earn a No. 3 overall ranking in the ESPN 60. Simmons, a 6-foot-10 combo forward who hails from Melbourne, Australia, helped Montverde (Montverde, Fla.) win a national title in April and now he’s got heavyweight college suitors like Kentucky, Duke, Ohio State and LSU, among others, on his trail. He’s agreed to give USA TODAY HSS exclusive access into his world by chronicling everything from intimate details about his recruitment to his everyday life in a blog.
Hey everyone, this is Ben Simmons and I’m back with another blog.
Sorry it’s been so long, but I’ve been away for the summer in Australia. I’m happy to be back in Florida at school now.
It was a tough, long summer, but I got to put a lot of work in and I definitely feel like I’ve gotten better.
The first day I flew back home to Australia I only got to relax for eight hours then I was already on a plane to Perth for a Boomers Camp for the Australian National team. I was there for about a week practicing. After that I joined a semi-pro team, the Bulleen Boomers, with my brother Corey.
We played in a league and it was great preparation just playing against grown men from ages 19-30. The physicality alone helped me so much. The main focus this summer was lifting and getting stronger so I’d be prepared to play at Montverde again.
It definitely wasn’t a vacation it was more of a work-filled summer for me. I did a lot of skill work with my older brother and things like that. I definitely felt like it was a productive summer.
One of the best parts of being home was having everyone back at the house and having family dinners and things like that. Just joking around a lot and things like that. I love that. We’re all pretty close so being with them was great as always, and I was able to eat my mom’s steak and Caesar salad. I think I had that about four times a week. It’s so good and I was lifting a lot during the week so I had to make sure I got the protein.
I’m up to about 6-foot-10, 230 pounds now.
I definitely feel like I got more out of playing with the national team then playing AAU. I can see parts of my game that have grown over the summer so I’m pretty excited about that.
I’ve got a long way to go to be the player that I want to be, but for now I’m just dedicating myself to putting the work in. I’m not really worried about any rankings or anything like that.
I did see that I was pretty high in the rankings, but I’ve never played against the big time guys in my class. I know who all of the top players are in the class and I’m sure I’ll be playing against a lot of them this season. For me, I always go hard at everyone. I don’t really worry about who I’m playing against.
It’s good to be back with my teammates!
I heard that some of them committed to schools like Justin Bibbs committed to Virginia Tech and D’Angelo Alexander is committed to Ohio State. That’s good stuff!
Now that that’s out of the way we’re all focused on being the best team that we can be. We’ve already started playing pickup. I think we’re gonna be really good. We’re gonna be really athletic and guys are really getting after it in the games. Everyone wants to win another national title and that’s the only thing we’re focused on as a team.
We’ve definitely had a few college coaches come out and watch our scrimmages. This stuff is still all new to me so that’s crazy to me that coaches come out so much to just watch you play pickup. I’ve seen LSU, Ohio State and a few other schools so far.
Over the summer I kept in touch with coaches from LSU, Duke, Kentucky, UNC, Florida, Ohio State and a few other schools through email for the most part.
That was pretty cool to start forming those relationships with the coaches.
My biggest thing now though is to do well academically and, like I said earlier, help my team win another national title.
I’ve even got a calendar here and I cross off the days while I wait for the season to start. We open on November 27 and I cannot wait!
I know we’ll be good, but there’s always room for improvement. We lost Kasey (Hill), Dakari (Johnson) and Devin (Williams) and that’s big. But my teammates and I talk about this all the time: We want that second ring.
I know I’ll have to step up a lot this year, and my teammates and I are ready to do whatever it takes to get that second ring.
OK, everyone I really appreciate you reading my blog. I hope you guys enjoyed it and I’ll be blogging a lot more now that I’m back.
Don’t forget to follow Ben Simmons on Twitter: @BenSimmons25