Ben Simmons

Getty Images

Australia is first Olympic men’s basketball qualifier, without its star

1 Comment

Australia will extend the longest active streak of Olympic men’s basketball appearances next summer.

The Australians clinched a spot in their 13th straight Olympics when New Zealand failed to advance out of its group at the FIBA World Cup. Oceania gets one Olympic qualifier out of the World Cup, and Australia took the spot by advancing to the second stage of group play.

Australia is the most accomplished basketball nation yet to earn an Olympic men’s medal. It finished fourth in 1988, 1996, 2000 and 2016, going winless in eight games with a medal at stake.

Australia’s medal hopes in Tokyo may be dependent on Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons.

Simmons passed on the Rio Olympics in favor of preparing for the 2016 NBA Draft, where he was the No. 1 overall pick, and the start of his pro career. He originally committed to the World Cup but withdrew on July 16 in favor of again preparing for the NBA season. But in withdrawing he said he would be “honored and humbled” to play at the Olympics.

Players on the World Cup roster with NBA experience include 2005 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Bogut and fellow Olympic veterans Patty Mills, Joe Ingles and Matthew Dellavedova.

Japan is in the 12-team Olympic field automatically as host nation. Six more nations will qualify for the Olympics at this month’s World Cup — two from the Americas, two from Europe, one from Africa and one from Asia.

The final four Olympic qualifiers will come from last-chance tournaments in 2020.

MORE: FIBA World Cup schedule, results

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Ben Simmons won’t play in Olympics, report says

Ben Simmons
Getty Images
1 Comment

Ben Simmons, who could be the No. 1 NBA draft pick on June 23, will not play for Australia’s Olympic team in August, according to ESPN.com.

“Ben Simmons will postpone playing with the Australian Olympic team this summer in order to concentrate fully on his NBA activities following the upcoming 2016 NBA draft,” Simmons’ agent said, according to the report.

Simmons, who is turning pro after his freshman season at LSU, was one of 26 players named as candidates for Australia’s Olympic basketball team last month.

Without Simmons, the Australian Olympic team could still include NBA players Andrew BogutPatty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova, among others.

Simmons, a Melbourne native, was among the final five cuts for Australia’s 2014 FIBA World Cup team.

Basketball Australia will cut down to 16 ahead of a July 5-10 selection camp. The Olympic Opening Ceremony is Aug. 5.

Australia’s men’s basketball team has never earned an Olympic medal, falling in the quarterfinals in 2008 and 2012.

MORE: Australian Olympic great retires from basketball

Ben Simmons, NBA players on Australia Olympic basketball hopeful list

Ben Simmons
Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

MORE: U.S. adds one more guard to Olympic finalist list