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Ben Simmons.

Draft prospect: Five interesting facts about projected number one pick Ben Simmons

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June is a special month in the NBA for more reasons than one. The long season finally comes to a climax when the best two teams square off in the Finals for the coveted Larry O'Brien trophy and that's soon followed by the next crop of great basketball talent joining the league in the draft.

The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors in incredible fashion by becoming the first team to ever overcome a 3-1 deficit and secured their inaugural championship.

The series featured the two biggest superstars in the game today in Stephen Curry and LeBron James and in the 2016 draft, there are some notable players who possess the ability and skillset to reach that status one day.

Ben Simmons out of LSU is expected to be the number one pick and has even been likened to LeBron for his size and handling at 6'10".

Reports this week have even suggested that the Philadelphia 76ers have already informed the Australian that they will select him first.

So what exactly do we know about Simmons? Here are five interesting facts about one of the potential future stars in basketball.

SPORTING FAMILY

Due to Simmons' background, it was almost inevitable that he would become a sportsman. 

SEC Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals

His father Dave was a legend in the National Basketball League in Australia for the Melbourne Tigers and led the team to its first ever championship in 1993.

His sister Emily was a member of the women's rowing team for Washington State University and is the wife of NFL player Michael Bush.

The youngster's godfather David Patrick is also an assistant coach for LSU. So with sports in his roots, his career could only go in one direction.

SURPRISE COLLEGE CHOICE

The forward shot to prominence in high school where he played his ball for the Montverde High School Academy in Florida.

SEC Basketball Tournament - Semifinals

He won the High School National Championship in each of his first three seasons with the team and was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player in his third campaign.

Following his impressive high school career, Simmons was recruited by the top colleges in America with the best basketball programmes such as Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan, UCLA, Florida, and Miami.

Simmons sprung a huge surprise by opting to take his talents to LSU instead, a non-traditional basketball school.

SHAQ-LIKE NUMBERS

The Melbourne native's talent was evident in high school and turned many heads across the States and he transferred that onto the NCAA stage with a huge game that put him in elite company.

Oklahoma v LSU

After the team went on a three-game losing streak, Simmons ended that in emphatic fashion on December 2, 2015, against North Florida.

He finished the game with 43 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, five steals and three blocks on an incredibly efficient 15-of-20 shooting from the field.

That breakout game saw him become the only major conference player in the last 20 seasons with at least 40 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 5 steals in a game, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Simmons’ 43 points were also the most by an LSU player since Shaquille O’Neal also scored 43 in 1991.

LSU v Florida

D'ANGELO RUSSELL CONNECTION

The LSU product has a 50 percent chance of becoming a Los Angeles Lakers player as the franchise has the second overall pick in the draft - though that now seems highly unlikely. 

If he somehow isn't selected first by the Philadelphia 76ers, you can expect him to be donning the Purple and Gold and team up with a close friend.

Simmons and Lakers point guard D'Angelo Russell were high school teammates at Montverde and the pair have remained friends since.

They spent time together when Russell was in New Orleans with the Lakers taking on the Pelicans on two separate occasions during the regular season.

Most recently, the pair even starred alongside each other in a Foot Locker commercial which, if you haven't seen already, is definitely worth a watch. 

It's fair to say, given the choice, Simmons would much prefer to end up in L.A. than Philly, and if certain rumours are to be believed, he's made that pretty clear too.

KLUTCH SPORTS AGENCY

Shortly after declaring himself for the draft, the Aussie confirmed that he had signed with Klutch Sports Group, the agency that represents LeBron James and is owned by James' friend, Rich Paul.

As an NBA star, there are countless ways to benefit from opportunities off the court in the form of sponsorship deals and by teaming up with one of the leading figures in this field, Simmons can expect to make an extra dollar or two, and it hasn't taken long.

SEC Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals

He has already signed a sneaker deal with major sports brand Nike that is believed to be worth $12m over five years.

His decision to join Klutch may have been made slightly easier by the fact that his sister has been a marketing and branding employee with the agency since 2014.

"For me, that's a big step in the right direction," Simmons said. "I believe it's another family for me, and now it's all about the hard work and getting myself ready for that next level. It's an exciting period for me, and I'm looking forward to it."

The new affiliation has already had its perks with the young talent seen courtside at numerous Cleveland Cavaliers games during the regular season and the playoffs.

King James was certainly happy to see the 19-year-old join the Klutch roster and took to Instagram to welcome him.

The 2016 NBA Draft takes place tonight and as always we look forward to a few surprises.

Topics:
NBA Draft
D'Angelo Russell
LA Lakers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
NBA
Eastern Conference
LeBron James
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Atlantic Division
Philadelphia Sixers

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