Gregory Payanaap

Rising Aussie star best in US school system

AUSSIE teen Ben Simmons has followed in the footsteps of NBA superstar LeBron James by being named the best high school player in the US.

The 18-year-old led his Florida school, Montverde, to back-to-back titles this season, averaging 29 points, 12 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game. James, a two-time NBA champion and four-time MVP, won the same award in 2003, just three months before being taken by Cleveland as the No.1 pick in a draft that included fellow stars Carmelo Anthony (No.3), Chris Bosh (No.4) and Dwayne Wade (No.5).

Subsequent rule changes requiring players to spend at least one year in the college system, mean Simmons (pictured) will have to wait until next year to nominate, where he could vie for the No.1 honour with another Aussie, Sudanese-born Thon Maker.

Simmons, the son of former NBL star Dave Simmons, will spend next season at Louisiana State University.



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