Simmons and Nike join forces in Australia push
BEN Simmons is in the process of launching an Amateur Athletic Union program in Australia, a move that has the potential to revolutionise the country's junior basketball system.
On the back of a Rookie of the Year season, Simmons and his camp plan to put together teams of Australian juniors, with the expectation they'll travel to play basketball in the US in Nike's EYBL circuits.
The hope for Simmons is that the program, which will be backed by Nike, launches in the upcoming American summer, with his manager believing it has the potential to open up significant opportunities for Australia's young players.
"We're looking to properly bridge the game for young talented basketballers in the Asia Pacific to introduce and show off our homegrown talent ... in the USA," Simmons' manager, Sean Tribe, told foxsports.com.au.
"This is going to stem from our current camp program, which we're building on each year.
"The progression makes sense for us and we have a firm grasp on the AAU circuit through our experience with Ben and others. We're really excited about what the future holds."
Camps held by Simmons in Victoria in the past two years have been extremely successful, selling out within minutes of places becoming available.
The idea of an AAU program backed by a player of Simmons' calibre, and with Nike, is unprecedented in Australian basketball and will provide opportunities for the country's best high school players to perform in front of college coaches, against other travel teams in the US.
It's different from what Dante Exum recently sponsored, which was an AAU team named "Exum Elite", an adidas-backed program based in the US.
Olgun Uluc covers basketball for Fox Sports Australia.