LSU freshman Ben Simmons, a favorite to be the No. 1 NBA draft pick on June 23, is one of 26 players named as candidates for Australia’s Olympic basketball team on Monday.
Simmons, 19, is a Melbourne native who was among the final five cuts for Australia’s 2014 FIBA World Cup team.
Olympian NBA players Andrew Bogut and Patty Mills were unavailable for the 2014 FIBA World Cup, adding two more players to the Rio mix and complicating Simmons’ quest to make the Rio Olympic team.
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Matthew Dellavedova joined Simmons, Bogut and Mills as the most recognizable names on the 26-player list Monday.
Basketball Australia will cut down from 26 players to 16 ahead of a July 5-10 selection camp. The Olympic Opening Ceremony is Aug. 5.
Simmons may be young, but Australia has a history of naming college basketball players to its Olympic team — Bogut in 2004, Mills in 2008 and Dellavedova in 2012.
Australia’s men’s basketball team has never earned an Olympic medal, falling in the quarterfinals in 2008 and 2012.