FIBA World Cup

Ben Simmons withdraws from Australian national team's summer exhibition games vs. USA and Canada

Ben Simmons withdraws from Australian national team's summer exhibition games vs. USA and Canada

Ben Simmons will not be matching up against Team USA this summer.

Basketball Australia released a statement Sunday saying that Simmons will not play in the team's exhibition games leading into the FIBA World Cup.

Simmons had previously announced that he won't be participating in the World Cup as he prioritizes preparing for the upcoming season with the Sixers, but he'd been planning to play in the exhibition games in Australia.

"With our focus being to win a medal at the 2020 Olympics, the Boomers' preparation in the lead up to the world championships is of the utmost importance and me not playing allows the team to create the chemistry they need to compete at the highest level and qualify for the Olympics," Simmons said in the statement, per The Age's Roy Ward

The Australian team has games scheduled on Aug. 16 and Aug. 17 in Perth against Team Canada, and on Aug. 22 and Aug. 24 in Melbourne against Team USA.

Jonah Bolden will feature for the Australians. Tobias Harris has withdrawn from Team USA, while rookie Marial Shayok was one of 29 players invited to the Canadian team's training camp. 

The FIBA World Cup begins in China on Aug. 31, with Team USA's first game on Sep. 1 against the Czech Republic. The Americans play the Turkish national team on Sep. 3. Furkan Korkmaz, who starred for Turkey in World Cup European qualifiers last summer, is on the team's 26-man preliminary roster. 

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Ben Simmons announces he's going to represent Australian men's national basketball team in 2019 FIBA World Cup

Ben Simmons announces he's going to represent Australian men's national basketball team in 2019 FIBA World Cup

This offseason, Ben Simmons will be focused on becoming a “better and more efficient player,” he said at his exit interview Monday in Camden, New Jersey.

He’ll also be focused on one other major objective — helping the Australian men's national team, known as the Boomers. 

Simmons announced Tuesday night that he is “going to be a Boomer for the upcoming events, so stay tuned.”

Australia will play the Canadian national team on Aug. 16 and 17 in Perth, Australia, and Team USA on Aug. 22 and 24 in Melbourne ahead of the FIBA World Cup, which runs from Aug. 31 to Sep. 15 in China.

Simmons did not make Australia’s World Cup team as an 18-year-old in 2014, but he should be their biggest star for this campaign. In 2016, Simmons decided against playing in the Rio Olympics as he worked on his game before the NBA Draft

Rookie Jonah Bolden is another Sixer who may contribute for the Australians in the World Cup. Brett Brown, the former head coach of the Australian national team, gave a strong endorsement of Bolden as an international player in January.

After the World Cup, the next major international basketball event will be the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. 

Simmons told reporters in August 2018, “I definitely want to represent Australia in the Olympics, in the future.”

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